Villar fumes as exec says animal industry bureau has no ‘direct control’ over importation | Inquirer News

Villar fumes as exec says animal industry bureau has no ‘direct control’ over importation

/ 02:44 PM January 09, 2023

Senator Cynthia Villar was irked after an official of the animal industry bureau said they have no "direct control" over importation

FILE PHOTO: A public market stall selling pork meat. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER / GRIG C.MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines —  Senator Cynthia Villar’s temper flared during a public hearing after an official said the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has no “direct control” over the country’s livestock importation.

During the Senate committee hearing on agriculture, food, and agrarian reform on Monday, Villar flagged the high volume of pork importation in 2022 despite the close gap between local production and market demand.


“Hindi ba logical na kung ano ‘yung local demand at saka local production, malapit lang sila, ‘yung importation kaunti lang. Ba’t dito ang laki-laki ng importation?” asked panel head Villar.


(Isn’t it logical that importation should be few if the difference between demand and local production is small? Why did we have a large importation?)

READ: Appetite for pork drove 16.4% rise in PH meat imports in ’22

Calling the attention of the concerned agency, she then said: “BAI, ikaw ang nag-i-issue ng importation. Paano ka mag-issue ng importation?”

(BAI, you are the one issuing importation documents. How do you issue it?)

BAI officer-in-charge Director Paul Limson responded: “‘Yun pong importation kasi ‘yung client po ang naglo-lodge. So, wala po kaming direct control kung gaano karami o kung gaano po ka-frequent.”

(On importation, the one who lodges it is the client. So, we do not have direct control over how much or how frequent the importation would be.)


But Villar said it was the first time she’s ever heard of such a procedure.

“Ngayon ko lang nalaman na ‘pag pala gusto nila mag-import kahit na sobra ang local production, pwede mag-import. Ngayon ko lang nalaman ‘yun. Parang hindi logical ‘yun. Hindi ganu’n before. Ngayon lang ‘yun,” she said.

(I just recently discovered that they could import even if our regional production has a surplus. But that doesn’t appear to make sense. It wasn’t like that before, only now.)

READ: Imports boost frozen pork supply in local market

She then pointed out that only those concerned about the plight of local producers and farmers should be appointed to government positions.

“‘Pag pinaghirap mo local farmer natin, hindi na sila magpo-produce. ‘Di wala na tayong agricultural production. ‘Pag nag-shortage sa buong mundo, saan tayo kukuha ng pagkain? ‘Di naman always available ‘yang import na ‘yan,” Villar said. “Dapat mag-resign na kayo kung gaganyanin niyo ang farmers sa Pilipinas.”

(If you make our local farmers suffer, they will not produce anymore. We will lose agricultural production. If a global shortage happens, where will we get our food? Importation would not always be available. So, you should resign if you will just burden our farmers.)

The senator subsequently asked Limson who taught him of such a process. The BAI official answered that it is the system when he entered the agency.

Villar, however, countered this insisting that it is not the system and that what BAI is doing now is incorrect.

“Hindi ba common sense ‘yun ‘pag ganito ang supply, ganito ang demand, kung tama na ‘yun, hindi na mag-iimport? ‘Di ba common sense ‘yun? Bakit ganyan ang mentality mo?” she further asked.

(Isn’t it common sense that if the supply and demand meet, there is no need to import? Isn’t that common sense? Why is your mind like that?)


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TAGS: Agriculture, importation, Livestock

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