Villar mulling bill to make local hog, poultry industry more competitive
MANILA, Philippines — Tired of scolding and cautioning Department of Agriculture (DA) officials against importation that would hurt the local industry, Senator Cynthia Villar now eyes a “permanent solution” to make local hog and poultry raisers more competitive.
“We have to compete in the marketplace. Kaya ako gusto ko ‘yung mga farmer natin can really compete because that is the permanent solution to the problem,” Villar said in a Senate hearing on Monday into rising food prices.
(We have to compete in the market place that’s why I want our farmers to be able to really compete because that is the permanent solution to the problem.)
“Kasi hindi mo naman mapigil ‘yang mga government agency na magbigay ng import permit eh. Talagang practice nila ‘yan, ayaw silang tumigil, siguro dun sila nagkakapera kaya ayaw nila tumigil na magbigay ng import permit,” she added.
(Because you can’t really prevent local agencies from issuing importation permits. It has become their practice, they won’t stop, maybe they’re making money out of it.)
The hearing of the Senate agriculture committee chaired by Villar looked into the rising food prices in the country, specifically on pork and chicken products.
In July last year, a national group of poultry raisers called on the DA to temporarily stop the importation of chicken, saying the glut in the frozen inventory of local and imported chicken had worsened over the past three months.
The United Broilers Raisers Association (Ubra) had also earlier asked the DA to give backyard raisers enough buffers to recover from their losses without having to compete with imported meat.
Meanwhile, agricultural groups decried a recent proposal of the DA to reduce the tariff rates imposed on pork and rice imports.
“I just want to be able to file a bill na permanent solution to our problem, we make our farmers competitive para kahit sila mag-import kaya natin labanan [so that even if there’s importation, they can compete],” Villar said.
“I hope that the hog industry and the chicken industry can give me a study which can be the basis for me to draft a law like the RCEF (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund),” she added.
“That’s the only permanent solution. Hearing tayo nang hearing na pagagalitan natin ‘yung mga nagi-issue ng import permit na ‘yan. Sawang-sawa na ko nang kakapagalit diyan sa mga nagi-issue ng import permit,” she further said.
(That’s the only permanent solution. We conduct hearings after hearings, I always scold those responsible for issuing import permits, I’m getting tired of it.)
She recalled an instance where she scolded the head of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) during a Senate hearing in October last year for allowing the issuance of permits for the importation of rice during harvest season.
“Sinabi ko nga dun sa nagi-issue sa rice, ‘Tigilan mo na pag-issue pag harvest season, ‘wag mo sabayan ‘yung mga farmer’,” Villar said.
(I told the official who issues import permits for rice ‘Stop issuing permits during harvest season.)
“Hindi mapigil eh, kahit sabihin mong ‘wag mag-import’ ayaw tumigil. Babantayan mo nang babantayan eh buti kung ako magbabantay ako, eh paano sa future. Kailangan ang solution permanent, hindi ‘yung ako na lang ‘yung magagalit nang magagalit,” she added.
(They can’t be stopped, even if you keep on telling them not to import, they still won’t stop. You will keep on monitoring them. It’s OK if I will be the one monitoring but what will happen in the future? We need a permanent solution, I should not get angry with them again and again.)
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