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Unsafe abattoir in Iloilo


By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper


I was among the millions of viewers worldwide amazed by the verdict of the Pacquiao – Marquez bout last November 13. One scored it a draw while the two others gave Pacquiao a two-point lead.


From where were watching, Tib’s Rock Resto, Mandurriao we were downcast as Manny Pacquiao was when the scores were being announced. Pacquiao anticipated a loss, and so were we.


Our cheers after the tally were half-baked. Pacquiao might have thrown more punches but missed most of them as his nemesis rolled with them. His hits were not clean, most of his punches and jabs just grazed the target.


Marquez delivered cleaner and more solid punches, especially those on the rib cage of his opponent.


We expected an early demolition of Marquez as predicted by Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach. We did not expect the Mexican to stand up that well against our hero who had demolished all his past 13 opponents at will.


We are no experts but we scored it at Tib’s Rock (over bottles of beer ) in favor of Marquez. It was Pacquiao, not Marquez, who appeared to have been tolled by age.


Broadcasters airing blow-by-blow accounts shared similar analysis that Pacquiao was losing the fight, and expressed surprise as much as we did, by the turn-around in the scores.


***


The best abattoir in Iloilo belongs to the City of Passi. The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) has accredited it to process both swine and cattle. It was erected during the last of the third term of Jessry Palmares in 2004.


Palmares is back in Passi as mayor. The abattoir that he built is now the exclusive contractor of Monterey whose choice cuts are delivered not only in the Visayas but as well, in Metro Manila.


Iloilo City has none of that. The NMIS refuses to accredit its two slaughterhouses, one in Molo which processes cattle and that in Jaro-Pavia border for swine.


Absence of NMIS accreditation means that both facilities failed to meet the national safety and sanitation standards.

 

The slaughterhouse at Molo district has no flowing tap and the carcasses of cattle are simply strewn to the floor mixing it up with dung and sludge. The workers, city hall casuals, are not wearing boots and hard hats.


That along the Pavia-Jaro border was built for P50 million in 2007 during the last of the third term of mayor, now Rep. Jerry Trenas. For a while, it has a semblance of a “double A” abattoir. It has a resting pen for animals to enable the inspector or veterinarian to determine their fitness for consumption.


It has conveyor belts and chain blocks to lift the animals until their delivery to the waiting vans outside. Still, its personnel wore hard hats and boots for safety and hygiene.


That was until July 2010, before newly installed Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog kicked out the casuals and replaced them with new ones handpicked by his kin Vincent De La Cruz.


Worse, Mabilog further sacked its general Manager, Dr. Tomas Forteza, a veterinarian, and replaced him with De La Cruz who had a shadowy academic credentials.


Without proper turn-over of responsibility and with a crew untrained in mechanized meat processing, the conveyor belts and chain blocks crashed. The hogs now have to be slaughtered on the floor where, as in the old slaughterhouse at Molo, they mix it up with sludge and dung.


During Forteza’s time, slaughtering was fast. The crew could go home at 2 am, and the owners could deliver carcasses certified safe by him to different outlets. Today, work last until dawn for the same number of hogs.


The workers at the Jaro-Pavia slaughterhouse wore no helmets, aprons and boots.


Former manager Dr. Forteza used his money in procuring boots, helmets, pails basins and knives. He pulled all of them out with departure to return to the city veterinarian’s office. De La Cruz cried thief after their disappearance but shut up after knowing that Forteza only withdrew what he owned.


All talks making Iloilo City “premier city” as vowed by Trenas and its newer version “my city, my pride” by his successor Mayor Mabilog are empty with local meat products coming from an unsafe and unhygienic slaughterhouse.

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