The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the additional hogs delivered to Metro Manila from various provinces outside of the National Capital Region (NCR) have met the average daily requirement.
“The daily requirement here (Metro Manila) is 4,000 hogs a day, we have already recorded about 4,500 hogs of shipment on February 15,” DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said in a virtual presser on Tuesday.
De Mesa, who was recently promoted to the DA central office, said that his former office in Calabarzon (Region 4-A) supplied the most hogs to Metro Manila sharing 49.8 percent of the 4,418 heads of hog in February 15.
Regions of Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Soccsksargen, Zamboanga Peninsula, Bicol Region, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Cagayan Valley, and Ilocos participated in sending additional hogs to Metro Manila.
DA Secretary William Dar mentioned earlier that the hogs supplied by these provinces are surplus or excess hogs.
The agri chief has ordered the DA regional offices to mobilize their respective local hog industries so Metro Manila markets can match the high demand of the consumers.
DA spokesperson Noel Reyes also mentioned during the briefer that the prices in Metro Manila public wet markets have now stabilized due to the influx of hogs from the provinces.
“We can also expect the prices to continue to normalize as several private groups have already committed to ship more hogs in the coming weeks,” Reyes added.
Western Visayas Region sent 20 hog vans containing some 1,600 heads of swine from Iloilo Port to Metro Manila on February 15.
DA Western Visayas provided transport support to the local raisers as among the government’s efforts to allay the soaring prices of pork and by-products because of the African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks.
“We are facilitating the transportation of live hogs to Metro Manila as instructed by Secretary Dar in a memorandum he signed on February 9, and also as a support to the Executive Order 124 of President (Rodrigo) Duterte on the mandated price ceiling in the National Capital Region,” DA Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter said.
On Wednesday, live hogs approximately valued at PHP24 million arrived from parts of Mindanao and were brought directly to slaughterhouses. These will be sold in the different public markets to provide Metro Manila consumers with safe and affordable pork meat.
Additionally, the Soccsksargen Region also nodded to more than 5,000 hogs delivered each week to Metro Manila.
Increased MAV temporary
On the other hand, de Mesa also explained that the proposal to increase the minimum access volume (MAV) of pork importations to the Philippines is a temporary solution to address the low-supply of pork products in Metro Manila.
“The government is authorized to intervene in the problems of the supply chain especially now that we are in a crisis (pandemic),” he said.
This as several private groups have contested the DA Secretary’s proposal for a higher MAV on pork imports to address the low supply of pork products in the NCR market.
Dar’s action was justified by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go saying that the average Filipino consumer is already going through enough problems brought by the pandemic.
“They should not be burdened by another concern, this high prices for pork which are considered as a basic commodity,” Go stated.
De Mesa also urged the private sector to compromise and consider the current situation.
“We have to balance the interest of the consumers and the producers. We are protecting the hog raisers but (also) the consumers as well,” de Mesa said.
During the joint hearing of the House committee on agriculture and food and the committee on trade and industry, Dar shared that the proposal to increase the MAV from its current 54,000 metric tons (MT) to 162,000 MT only needs the President’s signature.
“Last (Monday) night, we submitted to Malacanang the resolution by the MAV Management Council, recommending the increase in the MAV for pork for MAV Year 2021 and is now awaiting the President’s signature,” he shared.
“At the same time, the tariff commission is finalizing its report and recommendations to the Cabinet committee on tariff and related matters regarding our separate proposal to further lower tariff for pork for a period of one year,” he added. (PNA)