Palace calls for restraint amid threats of market holiday

Posted at 06/03/12 2:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang on Sunday urged local agricultural producers to practice restraint amid new threats of a market holiday.

"For everybody involved, let’s be calm. It will be the consumers who will be affected,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview with radio dzRB.

Late last week, the agricultural industry led by the Swine Development Council threatened to stage a five-day holiday, saying the government has failed to address the smuggling of agricultural products.

The group, alongside Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, National Federation of Hog Farmers and United Broilers Raisers Association, also said Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon should resign from his job if he does not know how to curb smuggling.

Vegetable, fish and sugar producers have also joined the call.

Local fish producers representative Arsenio Tanchuling said: “People just go to the market where anyone can buy pink salmon and cream dory despite the clear ban under the law on these fishes which are not indigenous here.”

Valte expressed surprise upon learning that even fish producers are joining the call, which started only from hog raisers.

“Let me get information from the Customs,” she said, adding that the government is already in the midst of seeking solutions to the problem.