(Photo grabbed from Inquirer.net)
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Acting Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda asked yesterday Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol to lift an “abrupt” ban on the importation of treated cow leather, purportedly as measure against African Swine Fever (ASF), to save some 16,000 workers from losing their jobs in a bag factory in the province.
Pineda coursed his appeal through House Speaker Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, citing the case of leather firm Superl Philippines Inc. (SPI) which employs 16,000 local folk. The company, located in Bacolor town, spends P220 million in salaries, P20 million in workers’ insurance, and P13 million in electricity every month.
The forwarding company of SPI earlier expressed surprise over the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) abrupt ban on 100 percent treated cow leather without prior notice.
The ban was linked to DA Memorandum Order No. 23 last August, banning the importation of domestic and wild pigs as well as products like pork meat and semen from Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and China to prevent the entry of ASF in the Philippines.
Pineda noted the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance as well as orders were placed a year in advance.
“The order of Sec. Pinol covered only swine. If even treated cow leather is covered, thousands of Kapampangans stand to lose their jobs,” he said.
Superl makes hand bags and wallets for international well-known brands. It has been operating its factory on an 8.5-hectare lot at the Angeles Industrial Park in Barangay Calibutbut, Bacolor, Pampanga since 2012.
Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales also said he was asked by Superl general manager Ho Ming Fung to request “for the exclusion of SPI and its subsidiary for the rejection of SPS importation clearance for cow leathers.”
Provincial board member Jun Canlas, a former mayor of Bacolor, noted that treated cow leather poses no danger of ASF contamination.
“What is in danger now are the regular employment of 16,000 workers,” he said.