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IATF OKs proposed ‘special’ hog lanes

January 29, 2021 - Friday 8:01 PM by PNA

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MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the designation of “special” hog lanes to ensure the unhampered shipment of pork products from Luzon and Mindanao, Malacañang said on Friday.

The IATF-EID, upon the recommendation of the National Task Force Against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Task Group on Food Security, backed the designation of a nautical highway from Luzon and Mindanao and the Maharlika Highway in Luzon as special hog lanes, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

Roque said the IATF-EID’s latest decision was contained in Resolution 97 approved on Thursday.

“The IATF, in its Resolution No. 97, also approved the recommendation of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 Task Group on Food Security in ensuring the unhampered passage of hog shipment from Visayas and Mindanao, while preventing the spread of the African swine fever and observing all science-based precautionary and quarantine measures,” he said.

Roque said the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have been directed to jointly implement the resolution to ensure the smooth shipment of pork products.

The latest directive came as the African swine fever (ASF) continues to threaten the country’s swine industry.

Nearly 500,000 hogs have so far been culled in the country due to ASF.

The DA is currently coordinating with hog raisers in the Visayas and Mindanao to ship live hogs and “pork-in-a-box” to Metro Manila through 2GO and Oceanic shipping lines.

ASF has also prompted the sudden rise in pork prices in the country.

The DA, along with other government agencies and Metro Manila mayors, earlier asked President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a price cap of PHP270 per kilogram for pork kasim (pork shoulder), pigue (pork leg) and PHP300 per kilo for liempo (pork belly) to prevent the further spike in the retail prices of pork products.

Roque on Thursday said the executive order that will implement a price ceiling on pork products is already “forthcoming.”

Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier sought the assistance of the DILG, the DTI, the Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police, and the National Bureau of Investigation to trace unscrupulous traders who are manipulating the supply and prices of pork products. Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos