MORE PORK FROM THE PROVINCE. Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Monday (Feb. 8, 2021) said that the South Cotabato Swine Producers’ Association are willing to work with his office in the transport and delivery of live hogs and carcasses to Luzon, initially at 10,000 hogs a week. Dar said this is part of the whole-of-nation approach to address food security. (Photo courtesy of DA

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has given its word to market vendors in Metro Manila that they will provide financial assistance in the course of the 60-day implementation of the new Executive Order (EO) mandating a price ceiling on meat and chicken products.

Magpapautang tayo sa mga market vendors, alam naman nating sila ay at the mercy of wholesalers (We will lend money to the market vendors, they are at the mercy of wholesalers),” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said during the Laging Handa briefer on Monday with Communications chief Martin Andanar.

Dar is yet to share the details on the loanable amount offered to vendors but he mentioned it will be paid with zero-interest in five years.

“We are offering it to association members,” he added.

EO 124 orders a price ceiling of PHP270 per kilo for "kasim" (pork shoulder) and "pigue" (leg), PHP300 per kilo for "liempo" (belly), and PHP160 per kilogram for dressed chicken effective today (February 8).

In the Christmas season, the pork products coming to the metro were priced more than PHP300 due to high demand as people prepared for the holidays but the price did not lower when it was expected to, Dar said.

The secretary also maintained his position that the viajeros or traders were the ones behind the price manipulation in the market; hence, the implementation of the EO 124 and the creation of the new subtask group on Economic Intelligence that seeks to charge unscrupulous traders and manufacturers jacking up the prices or manipulating the supply of pork.

On Monday, some stalls in Metro Manila’s wet markets have opted not to sell meat in declaring some kind of a “pork holiday”. They also complained of having difficulty in getting supply of the commodity.

Dar has urged the vendors to avail of the loan programs and participate in the DAs strategy in lowering the market prices of basic commodities.

This as the DA also gathers live hogs from other provinces to increase the meat supply in Metro Manila.

The DA chief said more than 260 live hogs were being transported from Mindanao raisers.

Dar said Southern Cotabato Swine Producers Association Edward Ang committed to transport 10,000 hogs per week until the prices of pork stabilize.

Aside from the market vendors, Dar also bared the availability of PHP27 billion sourced from funding facilities Landbank of the Philippines (PHP15 billion) and Department of Budget and Management (PHP12 billion) to be offered for loan to hog raisers.

“This is for the repopulation campaign so we continue to increase our supply,” he said.

He said it is their “number 1 strategy” to provide assistance for commercial hog raisers to help them repopulate in their area. (PNA