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87,000 Tonnes of Pork Smuggled into Philippines in 2011

25 May 2012

PHILIPPINES - As much as 87 million kilograms of pork have been smuggled into the country last year alone and the illegal meat entry continues, according to the head of a local hog industry group.

According to Inquirer News, Rosendo So, head of the Swine Development Council, said this should prompt President Aquino to finally put a stop to smuggling which is killing the Philippine hog industry.

Mr So, quoting reports from the Bureau of Customs (BOC), said that of at least 102 million kg of offal imported in 2011 at least 87 million kg “illegally entered the country and flooded wet markets last year.”

“The syndicated smuggling operations of these unscrupulous importers and corrupt BOC and Department of Agriculture personnel are not only killing local industries, but is also depriving the government billions of pesos in revenues,” said Mr So, who is also chair and representative of the party-list group Abono, said in a statement.

He said a “top to bottom revamp” of the customs bureau and agriculture department is needed because the smuggling syndicates “could not have done this without the connivance of BOC and DA personnel.”

Mr So said the National Meat Inspection Service’s list of 142 meat importers showed that only 29 are processors and two are “integrators.” Processors and integrators are the only companies allowed to import offal, he said.

Offal refers to a butchered animal’s innards, skin and other leftover parts used as extenders in processed meat products.

“Where did the 87 million kg of offal go when we did not see offal flooding the wet markets? It looked like they magically turned into prime cuts of pork and were passed off as fresh meat that flooded the market,” Mr So said.

He said some importers misdeclared the prime cuts of meat as offal to avoid paying the right tariff, depriving the government of revenues. He said misdeclaration and undervaluation deprive the government of some P3.7 billion in revenues yearly.

“We demand that those responsible for this crisis be held accountable,” he said.

“We call on President Aquino to declare an all-out war against smugglers,” he said.

ThePigSite News Desk



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