A group of Filipino meat processors, including the country’s largest canned food producer Century Pacific, has cynically suggested that the government just shut down Bureau of Customs for being useless during the lockdown.
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAPMI) sent this message to Trade Secretary Mon Lopez as they asked whether the logistical nightmare brought about by the ill-conceived could still be salvaged by the Inter-Agency Task Force.
“Imported raw materials are held up at the port because our customs brokers cannot go to the BOC (Bureau of Customs) to file the import entries because they are not authorized to travel. They have asked BOC to just close the port out of desperation, ” said PAMPI president Felix TiukinhoyJr. and vice president Jerome D. Ong.
The two warned that inventories of canned food and processed meat could be wiped out in 15 days or less because of the inability of PAMPI members like Century, King Sue, Foodsphere, Virginia Food and Velfram to deliver their raw and packaging materials to their factories.
The total lockdown, which effectively paralyzed Metro Manila and Luzon with the public transport suspension and military-style checkpoints, was apparently not well-thought off as the IATF forgot that the big companies were operating on just in time production to save on costs. “We agree that a lockdown is necessary to stop the contagion, unfortunately, we were ot prepared for it in terms of increased production and bigger raw material inventories,” said Tiukinhoy and Ong.
“We thus leave it to you (Lopez) and the IATF to determine if our situation is salvageable,” they added.