MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has passed a bill that seeks to stop the proliferation of double-dead meat, locally known as “botcha,” as well as “hot meat” that come from unregistered slaughterhouses.
“We need to modernize our agriculture and food laws to help protect the agriculture and the livestock industry sectors,” Senator Francis Pangilinan, who sponsored Senate Bill 3388 amending the Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines, said in a statement.
Pangilinan said the bill also aims to safeguard public health from “botcha” by adopting stringent measures.
“As our country moves up the ranks of developing nations, we must put an end to any and all practices that not only hinder our economic growth but more importantly threaten the health of our people,” Pangilinan said.
The bill imposes higher penalties to anybody who would sell transports and handle “botcha,” he said.
The bill will also bring Philippine regulations on meat inspection up to international standards, Pangilinan added.
All meat products that come from slaughter houses that are not accredited and have not undergone proper inspection would be classified as “hot meat.” Imported meat products without proper documents or those that have been smuggled would likewise be classified as “hot meat.”
The bill imposes a penalty of six months to 12 years imprisonment including a fine of P100,000 to P1 million to all violators.
If a corporation or association is found to have violated the act, all its officers would be criminally liable and their certificates of accreditation and registration revoked.
Public officials found in violation of the law would face perpetual disqualification to hold office while foreigners convicted would be deported after serving their sentence.
“We hope that in passing this bill we will finally see an end to ‘botcha’ and impose the appropriate sanctions on all those who participate in this unacceptable practice,” Pangilinan said. Candice Gelani