CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- Pampanga acting Governor Dennis "Delta" Pineda has asked Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to exempt a bag-manufacturing company here from an import ban on cow's leather to prevent some 16,000 workers from losing their jobs.
Pineda said on Monday that he coursed his appeal through House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He specifically asked Piñol to exempt Superl Philippines Inc. (SPI) from Memorandum Order No. 23.
The order, which was issued last August, places a temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild pigs - as well as products like pork meat and semen coming from Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and China to prevent the entry of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Philippines.
But Superl Holdings Limited, the forwarding company of SPI, has informed Director General Charito Plaza of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) that an "abrupt ban" was imposed on 100 percent treated cow leather "without prior notice" beginning January 24.
It appealed the case because the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance, as well as orders, have been placed a year in advance.
"Ang order po ni Secretary Piñol ay baboy lamang. Kung pati treated cow leather ay kasama, titigil po ng operasyon ang Superl at mawawalan ng trabaho ang mga manggagawang Kapampangan (The order of Secretary Piñol is only on pigs. If treated cow leather is included, the operation of Superl will stop and the Kapampangan workers will lose jobs)," Pineda said in media interview.
Superl makes hand bags and wallets for well-known international brands. Its factory has been operating on an 8.5-hectare lot at the Angeles Industrial Park in Bacolor town, this province, since 2012.
The company spends PHP220 million in salaries, PHP20 million in workers' insurance and PHP13 million in electricity every month.
Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales was asked by Superl general manager Ho Ming Fung to request "for the exclusion of SPI and its subsidiary from the rejection of SPS importation clearance for cow leathers."
Provincial Board Member Jun Canlas said Superl showed to be in "no danger" of causing contamination since it is bringing in treated cow leather.
"Health safety is out of the question. What is in danger of being jeopardized is the regular employment of 16,000 workers," Canlas said. (PNA)