MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Incorporated (PAMPI) told the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that a “severe” shortage of meat products may occur by April, as the Luzon-wide lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic disrupts deliveries and production.
In a letter sent to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Friday, March 20, PAMPI said vehicles transporting raw materials for processing meat get stuck at checkpoints.
Imported meat products are also being held up at ports.
“We agree that a lockdown is necessary to stop the contagion. Unfortunately, we were not prepared for it in terms of increased production and bigger raw meat inventories,” PAMPI said in its letter. (READ: LIST: Who are allowed out during Luzon lockdown?)
Asked for further comment, PAMPI spokesperson Rex Agarrado told Rappler that the letter was “not meant for public consumption,” as it was meant to convey the industry’s concerns only to Lopez.
“No need to panic,” Agarrado said.
“While we do encounter problems at the checkpoints, ongoing talks with the DTI as well as other government agencies prove to be very fruitful,” he added.
Agarrado said packaging materials like carton boxes, tin cans, flexible films, and spices are not allowed by some checkpoints.
The DTI released a memorandum on Friday, instructing checkpoint personnel to let all types of cargoes, both food and non-food, move freely.
If subjected to random inspection, cargoes should not be delayed, especially if a cargo manifest or delivery receipt including the destination is presented.
“We appeal to the [local government units] to please observe the guidelines set by the [inter-agency task force] to expedite the movement of our people, our goods, and the raw materials needed to produce them,” Agarrado said. – Rappler.com