Government must have a game plan on pork shortage – Pangilinan

Published February 9, 2021, 7:27 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The government must present and implement a game plan to solve the issue of pork shortage and subsequent high prices in a comprehensive and holistic manner, opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Tuesday.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Love nating mga Pinoy ang galunggong. OK ang panawagan na maghanap ng ibang protein source ang ating mga kababayan,”  Pangilinan said on the second day of the 60-day price ceiling on pork products. (We Filipinos love galunggong. It is OK for our countrymen to heed calls to look for other protein sources.)       

 Pangilinan pointed out that African Swine Flu (ASF) since 2019 and a succession of typhoons last year could be the reason for the shortages of pork in the markets.         

He lamented that millions of pigs have been culled and billions of pesos have been lost.        

The hog-raising industry, according to a 2018 Department of Agriculture (DA) paper, is worth at least P190 billion a year. And next to rice, it is the second-largest contributor to the country’s agriculture.

“Maraming trabaho at hanapbuhay ang nakasalalay dito kaya kailangan natin itong pagtuunan ng pansin at solusyonan. Hindi pwedeng stop-gap tulad ng price ceiling at pagtatawag na kumain ng galunggong,” Pangilinan said. (Many jobs and livelihood are at stake here that needs immediate attention and solution. Stopgap measures such as asking people to settle for galunggong is not OK.)       

Malacañang imposed a 60-day price cap on chicken and pork through Executive Order (EO) No. 124, starting Monday, February 8, pegging the price of pork shoulder (kasim) and pork leg (pigue) at P270 per kilo, and pork belly (liempo) at P300.        

On Monday, hog raisers and market vendors refused to sell altogether because the price ceiling is too low for them to even break-even.     

According to the 2018 DA research, about 64 percent of the swine population is raised in backyard farms or those with less than 10 sows per household.

At the same time, he welcomed the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI’s) probe into possible price manipulation and hoarding, a call Pangilinan made during the February 1 Senate hearing on high food prices.     

“Go after those who earn off the misery and hunger of the people,’’ he added.