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Some retailers may go on ‘pork holiday’ after price ceiling order

Some pork retailers and traders on Wednesday said they might go on a “pork holiday” once the price ceiling for pork and chicken is imposed in Metro Manila.

According to Maki Pulido’s “24 Oras” report, some retailers will not sell pork during the 60-day implementation of the price cap to avoid losses and penalties for violation.

“Siyempre, criminal offense ‘yang ipapataw sa’yo ng DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), ng local government, ‘pag nag-violate ka sa price ceiling,” Ricardo Chan of the Manila Meat Dealers Association said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered the imposition of a price cap on pork and chicken for 60 days in the capital region amid an increase in prices. 

The price ceiling will come into effect on February 8. 

Some “biyaheros” or traders in Guiguinto, Bulacan also said they will not bring pork into Metro Manila while the price cap is in effect to avoid losses.

They lamented the high cost of transporting pork from Batangas and Bicol, which includes fees for tolls, gas, manpower, and permits from the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“Ang hinihingi sa amin, P18,000. ‘Yung sinasabi sa’min no’ng DA na pinagtanungan namin, ‘yung P18,000 kahit ilang baboy na mailalabas mo,” Ricardo Santiago said.

“No’ng kami’y nagtanong [sa] dumaan na sa mga fixer, kumbaga, tumaas nang tumaas ang magiging permit. ‘Yung iba ang hinihingi pa, singkwenta e,” he added.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes urged traders to report fixers.

Reyes said the veterinary certificate should be free while only minimal fees will be collected for the shipping permit, slaughter fee, and in checkpoints.

“Sumatotal, ang pinakamataas niyan, P220 kada ulo ng baboy,” he said.

The Manila Meat Dealers Association also took issue with farmgate prices.

It said that live weight from piggeries now cost P190 to P245 per kilo.

Chan said these prices must be brought down to P150 to P160 per kilo.

“Maraming mga tindahan ang titigil ang tinda sa market kung hindi bababa ng presyo sa hog raisers,” he warned.

Hog raisers have long been saying that the production cost for pork went up after several pigs were culled due to an outbreak of African Swine Fever.

They urged the DA to shoulder P30 per kilo as a transportation subsidy.

“Kung magbe-breed ka ng bagong stocks, mataas ang pagkuha ng mga breeder. Dati kasi, nakakakuha ka ng mga P30,000. Ngayon, umaabot na ng P80,000,” said Rosendo So of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG).

“Kung mag-start tayo sa gano’n na mag-aalaga ulit, talagang pataas na ang presyo.”

SINAG said up to 150,000 piggery workers in Luzon alone have lost their jobs as hog raisers closed down business.

Meanwhile, prices of fish have also gone up.

“Surviving lang po kami dito, makabayad lang sa puwesto namin,” fish vendor Evelyn Talento said.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said this was caused by the cold temperature and strong waves of seas.

However, the price of galunggong or round scad is expected to come down after the BFAR lifted the three-month fishing ban.—Julia Mari Ornedo/LDF, GMA News