Pampanga

Chicken dealers, vendors buck new Angeles City slaughterhouse

Joann Manabat
Chicken dealers, vendors buck new Angeles City slaughterhouse

DEMOLITION. Dealers of chicken voluntarily demolish backyard slaughterhouses at Angeles City's Pampang public market on January 17

Angeles City Chicken Dealers Consumers Cooperative (ACCDCC)

(2nd UPDATE) The city government confirms the P20 hike in the price of chicken per kilo, and blames dealers for the 'artificial' shortage

ANGELES, Philippines – Operators of ten backyard chicken slaughterhouses at the Pampang public market voluntarily demolished their structures on Monday morning, January 17, three days after the city government implemented a full transfer to a new, private facility.

But members of the Angeles City Chicken Dealers Consumers Cooperative (ACCDCC) reported a supply crunch and rising prices since January 13, when the Angeles City Slaughterhouse (ACS) started full operations.

ACCDCC spokesman Jun David told Rapppler the price per kilo of chicken was between P135 and P145 on January 13.

Local dealers used to slaughter at least 20,000 to 22,000 chickens daily, David said. 

On January 17, with supply output down to 12,000, the price per kilo was between P155 to P170, he added.

According to city chief adviser IC Calaguas, the P20-P25 difference in the price increase on the chicken was due to the “artificial” shortage of supply. Calaguas said the dealers tried to hold the supply of the chicken, prompting the city government to let Magnolia, a triple A accredited dressing plant, assist on the supply.

She said traders control prices and charged that they held back 4,000 chickens on Thursday, January 13. 

“Hindi nila nilabas sa palengke, itinago nila. So nagkaroon ng artificial shortage ng manok, hindi naman dapat. Kung titignan mo, that is equivalent to economic sabotage, said Calaguas. (They did not bring stocks to the market, they did these. So they created an artificial shortage.)

The city government , she added, wrote to the Department of Agriculture on Friday, January 14, to ensure stable chicken prices.

Some 800 affected dealers, vendors, and workers with the ACCDCC were scheduled to protest on Monday afternoon, David said.

“We are not against modernization. We are not against improvement,’ David told Rappler on Friday, January 14. “Ang sinasabi namin, hindi ba pwedeng gradual muna? Para hindi maantala ang supply ng manok.” (We’re asking for a gradual shift to avoid disruption to the supply of chickens.)

The move would also make 200 workers jobless, he warned.

The poultry section of the Pampang public market in Angeles City. (Courtesy of Angeles City Chicken Dealers Consumers Cooperative)
Supply capacity

The state-of-the-art private abattoir is a public-private partnership between the city government and Cabanatuan EACA Agroventures Inc. 

Under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement, the city government will lease land for 25 years to Cabanatuan EACA Agroventures Inc, which financed and constructed the P80-million facility. The private firm will pay the city government P80,000 monthly.

David told Rappler the ACS can handle only 3,000 to 4,000 chickens daily despite its claim of being able to process 4,000 to 5,000 chickens per hour.

ACS general manager Lito Corpuz denied the allegation. 

“Hindi totoo yan, ayaw lang nilang magpakatay. Kasi may tig-iisang katayan yan dati na alam naman natin na clandestine or illegal. Wala sa standard ng National Meat Inspection Service,” Corpuz told Rappler on Saturday, January 15.

(That’s not true. They just don’t want others to do the slaughtering because they all have clandestine or illegal slaughter operations that do not meet standards of the National Meat Inspection Service.)

Angeles City’s FAQ cites the “Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines,” requiring LGUs to improve existing meat facilities so these can comply with national standards.

“Ang gusto kasi nila sabay-sabay kong tapusin with their given time eh kailangan makipag cooperate at makipag coordinate sila sa akin kasi ang average actual capacity ng conveyor ko is 4,000 birds per hour, pwede kong i-adjust yon sa 6,000 birds per hour, Corpuz said.

(They want me to slaughter all their products at once within a set time. But they need to cooperate and coordinate because my conveyor’s average actual capacity is 4,000 birds per hour, though I can adjust this to 6,000 birds per hour.)

However, Corpuz acknowledged, “sa ngayon nasa 2,000 birds per hour ako.”  (Right now, I can do 2,000 birds per hour.

Permits

David denied Corpuz’s charge about illegal operations.

“Quite frankly, never nakiharap sa amin ang city government,” David said. (The city government never met us.) 

He stressed that they wanted permits before relocating their own dressing plants to ensure the health and safety of consumers. 

David stressed it would be self-sabotage to pursue operations without securing a permit, adding that they tried to consult with the city government on the relocation to ensure compliance with laws.

“Paano mo iisyuhan ng violation kung mag apply palang kami ng permit eh ayaw na kaming i-entertain,” the ACCDCC spokesman added. 

(How can you raise the issue of violation if you won’t even entertain our applications for permits.)

The city government’s FAQ graphics reassured the public that prices would not rise under the new arrangement, saying the cost of operations remain the same in the new slaughterhouse.

Under BOT agreement, the city government has oversight of the new slaughterhouse.

The build-operate-transfer agreement allows the operator to impose charges and adjust fees by not more than 10% annually.

Corpuz confirmed to Rappler an additional cost of five pesos per chicken. He insisted dealers and retailers can shoulder the additional cost and not pass onto the consumers. – Rappler.com

Joann Manabat is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.