By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE proposal of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas to upgrade the city slaughterhouse under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) setup is by far the best option in upgrading the facility, according to Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) head Jose Ariel Castañeda.
“It’s a welcome development because that’s what I’m trying to propose to the previous administrations since the time of former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog. Subjecting it to PPP is by the far the best thing that will be introduced to the slaughterhouse,” he said.
Treñas has previously announced that he already had talks with the PPP Center in Manila regarding the upgrade of the city abattoir.
During the regular flag ceremony on Monday at the City Hall grounds, Treñas revealed that four firms have signified their interest in the slaughterhouse development.
“I already talked with PPP Center and they will be coming here this July to look into the slaughterhouse development. There are four interested parties,” he said.
The sorry state of the city abattoir has long been a problem of the city government despite millions of pesos spent by national agencies and the local government.
According to Castañeda, the city abattoir requires fast and immediate actions due to its deplorable state and substandard facilities.
“Lain ang nature sang abattoir, it really requires a fast and immediate attention sa iya nga state kay ginsalo naton ini siya nga deplorable iya state. If not substandard ang facilities, ang iban guba and indi mechanized which accounts to the poor performance of our slaughterhouse,” he said.
The slaughterhouse has two boilers but only one is functioning. Hence, it cannot keep up with its target per day, Castañeda lamented.
“We have two boilers, ang isa effectively functioning and ang isa ginasubject sa mechanical check. A slaughterhouse can actually process at least 500 heads pero tungod indi siya mechanized subong, ga-average lang kita 120-150 heads,” he explained.
In fact, until now the city slaughterhouse has failed to secure any certification standards which is supposedly issued by the Department of Agriculture to ensure that meat are safe and can be sold to the market.
Single “A” certification means that “facilities and procedures of minimum adequacy that the livestock and fowls slaughtered therein are suitable for distribution and sale only within the city or municipality where the slaughterhouse is located.”
Double “A” certification assures that “facilities and operational procedures sufficiently adequate that the livestock and fowls slaughtered therein are suitable for sale in any market domestic.”
The Triple “A” certification is for “facilities and operational procedures appropriate to slaughter livestock and fowls for sale in any market domestic or international.”
The city slaughterhouse has never secured any of the three certification standards.
“Kinahanglan sang aton publiko, konsumidor, hotels, restaurants, ang isa ka facility nga naga-process, sang meat nga certified safe and healthy in short we need a city abattoir with proper classification to better improve and monitor the traffic of meat all over the city,” he stressed.
In the past, efforts were done in the hopes of improving the state of the city abattoir.
The late Councilor Armand Parcon pushed for the improvements in the slaughterhouse as well as a bigger possible budget allocation.
However, it was not undertaken by the previous administration.
The administration of former mayor Jose Espinosa III previously announced that P100 million has already been committed by Senator Cynthia Villar for the upgrade of the city slaughterhouse but no updates have been heard since then.
Based on the master plan submitted by Castañeda to the city government last year, which contained program of works with costing and specifications, the total upgrade of the city slaughterhouse would cost around P100 million.
With the new administration, Castañeda hopes that the upgrade that has been long needed by the city slaughterhouse will be materialized.
He assured that they will thoroughly choose the private firm that would upgrade the city slaughterhouse under the PPP scheme.
“Ang aton bantayan is to make sure na advantageous sa gobyerno. We will make sure with the city mayor, Commission on Audit (COA), LEEO, nga it is advantageous to the city government and the people of Iloilo,” he said.