A party-list lawmaker said the call of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) to stop buying local pork to contain the spread of the African swine fever (ASF) virus is “misinformed” as it would only hurt the hog-raising industry.

Magsasaka Party-list Representative Argel Cabatbat said the industry group should be reminded that there is a greater likelihood that the ASF virus is being spread by imported pork.

Cabatbat also slammed the PAMPI’s move “to punish the local industry is a form of scapegoating,” especially that the call comes from an organization that sources most of its meat abroad.

“Calling for a local boycott does not contribute to solving the problem at hand.”

“Calling for a local boycott does not contribute to solving the problem at hand, and it continuously hurts the hog-raising industry, a huge chunk of with are small players who are doing honest work to survive day-by-day,” the legislator said.

“Billions of pesos of capital have been lost in the past couple of months because of the spread of the ASF, as well as the panic and misinformation that came with it. Our local players consistently cooperate with authorities, and have instituted stringent measures to protect the interests and safety of the buying public,” the lawmaker added.

He said the group’s call only “muddles the conversation,” and passes the blame on local producers, thus affecting the livelihood of millions of Filipinos.

“The way to respond to this problem is for industry players to come together.”

“The way to respond to this problem is for industry players to come together, instead of one or few players manifesting greed and intentionally causing panic just to get ahead of the competition,” Cabatbat added.

PAMPI, the country’s largest group of meat processors, has asked its members to temporarily stop buying local pork “until they are able to assure government authorities and the consuming public that local pork is ASF-free.”

“PAMPI recognizes the authority of local government units (LGUs) to protect the welfare of constituents in the agriculture sector but at the same time, pleads that such protection be also accorded other vital sectors of the economy,” PAMPI spokesman Rex Agarrado said in a statement.

“Repeated assurances by health authorities that ASF does not pose any risk to the health of humans will have no value and meaning for the meat processing industry and consumers as well if its products are intercepted and confiscated on the way to market or sent back to the factories,” Agarrado added.


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