GUAGUA, Pampanga– Mayor Dante Torres of this town recently released a memorandum order to ban uninspected and unmarked live hogs and cattle sold in the public market here.
This came after an alert warning was issued by the Department of Agriculture and National Meat Commission of the possible entry of live pigs affected by African Swine Fever (ASF) in the province.
The memorandum states that “all slaughtered hogs and large cattle at the Guagua Public Market should bear the mark of inspection by the accredited NMIS Meat Inspectors.”
After the memorandum order was implemented on Monday, town folks here initiated a boodle fight to send a strong message of protest against the order sent by the Mayor.
Amante Ramon, the spokesperson of the group of meat vendors, said that pork meat and pork products they sell are safe for consumption.
“Nagboboodle fight kami ngayon para patunayan sa mga tao na ligtas ang mga paninda naming baboy dito sa Guagua,” Ramon said.
According to him, their group tried to reach out to the local government to secure their pork products with a stamp of the seal from the NMIS, but unfortunately, their request was declined.
Municipal Meat Inspector Roberto Pring, said the request of the vendors was not granted for not complying to the instructions given to them by the office of the Mayor.
“Gusto nilang markahan yung mga baboy na hindi dumaan sa accredited slaughterhouse natin. Pinipilit nilang patatakan yung mga pinatay nilang baboy sa kani-kanilang mga bahay,” Pring explained.
In response, Ramon said that the vendors do not want to use the new slaughterhouse provided to them by the local government in San Rafael because they prefer to use the old one located in Sto. Nino which was recently shut down.
Closure of Guagua Municipal Slaughterhouse
It can be recalled last February 14, 2019, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR- PENRO) Pampanga and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region III demanded the closure of Guagua Municipal Slaughterhouse located in Barangay Sto. Nino of this town due to non-compliance of various sanitary guidelines and necessary permits.
This was developed, as a Notice of Violation and Cease and Desist Order was addressed to the municipality and the President of the Association of the Slaughterhouse for non- compliance to the existing rules and regulations perpetuated under Section 27 (a) of the Republic Act 9275, otherwise known as the Clean Water Act 2004.
Based on the prior on-site inspection conducted by the agencies on January 23, 2019, it was found out that the slaughterhouse was operating without Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).
Pring said that the slaughterhouse had several violations like “improper disposal of solid wastes in the area, having no septic tank or vault for the discharge of wastewater, and poor maintenance of the facility as blood and hair from animals were observed.”
Mayor Dante Torres said this is the reason why the local government of Guagua funded a new slaughterhouse for its vendors.
The New Slaughterhouse
Mayor Dante revealed that new slaughterhouse project in Barangay San Rafael was a pre-existing project of the previous administration before he assumed office in 2013.
Moreover, Mayor Dante Torres made it clear that he already asked the vendors to maximize the slaughterhouse provided to them by the local government.
“Sinabihan ko na sila na subukan muna nila yung bagong slaughterhouse bago sila magreklamo. Nagbayad ang munisipyo ng 5 milyon for 6 years para mabigay lang ito sa kanila,” he said.
According to Torres, he won’t tolerate the incorrect disposition of the vendors.
“Sa mga nagproprotesta, subukan po muna natin ang bagong slaughterhouse. Definitely hindi po kami magbaba. Bilang ama ng bayang ito, hindi ko isasacrifice ang kaligtasan at kapakanan ng mga tao sa bayan ko, “Torres exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Guagua town folks also pledged to support Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda’s precautionary measures to tighten the guard of the province versus ASF. — LUISSE GABRIELLE RUTAO