THE Department of Agriculture-National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) recommended the privatization of Iloilo City’s slaughterhouse to improve its services, according to City Administrator Hernando Galvez on May 30, 2017.
Galvez said the City Hall recently received the result of the DA-NMIS inspection, and the latter’s recommendations on measures the city can adopt to improve the facility, particularly its operations, structures and equipment.
The report was signed by Engr. Juana Tapel, DA-NMIS assistant regional director for engineering.
“One recommendation that caught our attention is the NMIS itself recommended the privatization of the operations of the facility,” said Galvez.
But Galvez said it cannot be determined whether or not privatization would benefit the city for lack of a comprehensive study.
“For us to be able to say what is good, whether this proposal is bad or good, we need to have a technical study, a detailed study on the matter,” Galvez said.
Aside from privatization, the NMIS also recommended the repair and rehabilitation of the slaughterhouse.
“After the rehabilitation and repair, it recommended that the city should apply for accreditation,” said Galvez.
“The DA-NMIS also recommended that there should be competent persons that will handle maintain and handle the repair of the facility.”
This recommendation, Galvez clarified, does not mean that the persons operating or manning the facility are incompetent.
“I don’t think the city is incapable of managing the slaughterhouse. Its personnel were trained. I just don’t know what went wrong. If it is about competence, they were trained,” he stressed.
Galvez said the NMIS recommendations will be forwarded most likely to the Internal Audit Service Office (IASO) headed by lawyer Joan Montaño for further study.
“We will study this first and recommend what is best for the people…This is an important matter because it will not only affect today but the future and it relates also to health, thus, we have to address it properly,” Galvez stressed.
As regards the competence of abattoir personnel, he opined: “It is one of the issues that IASO, or any person we will assign to study the NMIS recommendations. It should seriously into the recommendation to identify if indeed we lack competent persons, or maybe we have competent persons but are unwilling to perform. You see, competence is relative – even if you are not very competent but has a heart, it matters.”
With regard the status of the application process for accreditation, he said: “Accreditation? Wala, kun ano siya sa ginsuguran, amo man siya gihapon.”
The review of NMIS recommendations will not hamper the operations of the facility.
The City Hall aims to conclude the detailed study of the recommendations “the soonest.”
The city’s slaughterhouse located at Brgy. Tacas, Jaro is an economic enterprise of the city. However, the facility has been beset with problems for years now.
“As an enterprise, it remains to be an enterprise that according to them, breakeven (in terms of costs and income),” said Galvez.
After 11 months of partial operation (cattle only), it resumed full-swing operations in November 2016 after the city acquired two modern boilers worth a total of P3.75 million. During that period, the city lost some P1.3 to P1.5 million in income monthly, according to Jose Ariel Castañeda, Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) head, who inherited these problems.
LEEO plans to submit the city slaughterhouse for AA accreditation before December 2017. The procurement of boilers is part of the measures to meet the said standard.
According to the NMIS, Class AA meat establishments are “those with facilities and operational procedures sufficiently adequate to slaughter food animals, or premises to cut and pack carcasses or primal parts; or establishments to process and manufacture meat and meat products for inter-provincial distribution and sale in any meat market nationwide.”
It also requires the application of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) program.
On the other hand, Class A meat establishments can only distribute and sell its meat and meat products in any meat market within the province only.
City officials have long been preaching about the vision of elevating the standards of the city’s slaughterhouse into at least AA, if not AAA.
“It annoys us because I understand that this slaughterhouse was envisioned to be of AA or AAA standard; but sad to note, that dream remains a dream until now. But we still look forward that with the cooperation of everyone, it will be rehabilitated and the facility will be put in the right place,” Castañeda said.
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