Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 8) The Department of Agriculture vowed to cut red tape in the hog industry on the local government level as part of its long-term plan to address pork price crisis in Metro Manila.
During a Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar acknowledged there was a redundant and burdensome permitting process in the sector, which slows down transportation of live hogs to the country’s capital.
This is also one of the reasons why local meat importers refuse to offer lower prices despite the tight supply, he added.
“We will further streamline the permitting process…,” Dar said. “Isi-simplify natin para mas mapabilis dumating ang mga baboy dito sa Metro Manila.”
[Translation: We will simplify it to transport live hogs much faster to Metro Manila.]
The DA chief also urged local government units, including barangay officials, to eradicate unnecessary permitting requirements, especially now that there is a low supply of pork products in the National Capital Region.
To somehow ease the burden from consumers, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a 60-day price ceiling on pork and chicken beginning Feb. 8.
However, local retailers and meat importers have warned of a pork supply crunch amid the government’s crackdown on profiteers.
Dar said his department has started supplying Metro Manila with live hogs from provinces free of African swine fever. On Monday morning, there were 27 metric tons of live hogs delivered to a slaughterhouse in Antipolo, targeted for Metro Manila markets.
According to him, the DA is providing transport assistance to individuals who will bring in live hogs to the NCR — 21 per kilo from Mindanao; 15 per kilo from the Visayas areas; and 10 per kilo from Calabarzon and Central Luzon.
He committed that the DA will also extend financial assistance to hog raisers for the repopulation program as the ASF continues to infect the industry.
The government is allotting 1 billion for the repopulation program to help increase the supply of pork meat in the local market amid the ASF outbreak, he said.