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Left photo shows BOI Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa delivering her opening remarks before the forum participants. Middle and right photo meanwhile shows the government and private sector participants who discussed the challenges and proposed solutions in addressing EODB issues and regulatory procedures. 

The government is gearing up to further prepare the Philippine processed meat industry to be globally-competitive as it recently (31 July 2018) conducted a Regulators’ Forum aimed at addressing current regulation compliance challenges and further improve the industry’s business processes including issuances of permits and licenses.

Organized and facilitated by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the country’s lead industry development and primary investment promotion arm, in partnership with the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the forum was attended by private sector representatives from the processed meat industry primarily represented by the Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc.(PAMPI) and Pampanga Association of Meat Processors (PAMPRO).

The conduct of the forum was in light of the recent signing of President Rodrigo Duterte into law of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 (Republic Act No. 11032) which calls for government agencies to process simple business transactions within 3 working days, complex ones within 7 working days, and highly technical transactions within 20 working days.

The Competitiveness Bureau presented salient provisions of the law which includes limitation on the maximum number of signatories to three for the issuance of licenses, clearances, permits, certifications, and authorizations. Electronic signatures are also considered valid and a zero-contact policy will be implemented.

“Our objective is to improve in terms of efficiency and effectiveness the regulatory procedures of the process meat industry, to deepen understanding of the regulatory environment considering the industry’s difficulty in complying with such requirements and to come up with recommendations to further improve the regulatory compliance without undermining the legal mandates of the regulators,” BOI Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa said during the forum. 

With the forum serving as a venue for government agencies and the processed meat industry to come up with workable solutions in addressing the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) issues and with government working together with industry stakeholders, we will continue to have a very competitive business environment with globally competitive industries as the country is shaping up to be as the premiere investment location,” she said.

The representatives from the NMIS, BAI and FDA presented the processes involved in securing Certificate of Meat Inspection (COMI), Shipping Permit, License to Operate (LTO) and Certificate of Product Registration (CPR). COMI is required prior to withdrawal of imported meat raw material from NMIS-accredited cold storage warehouses while Shipping Permit shall be secured per shipment destination of raw and uncooked-processed meat products prior to transport. LTO and CPR are required for the operation of meat manufacturing establishments and sale of processed meat.

The industry raised to NMIS and BAI the excessive time allotted by the on-field personnel in manually filling out of the forms which may compromise the product quality and delivery time requirement of their buyers. They recommended that a pro-forma COMI be prepared in advance by the applicant, to be stamped “inspected” by the NMIS. They added that the government should focus more on strengthening post-delivery audit and conduct regular plant monitoring.

The NMIS shared their proposed electronic filing of COMI (e-COMI) while BAI also demonstrated the electronic Shipping Permit (e-Shipping Permit) portal intended to be fully implemented in January 2019. The advantage of electronic filing is that it simplifies the filling out of forms, submission of required documents and securing the permits without being physically present in the offices of NMIS and BAI. e-Shipping Permit also boast its feature of real-time notification of shipment location and arrival and enable BAI to build its meat transport records which will improve traceability system. Usual inspection procedures, however, will still be maintained.

The industry requested NMIS to assess whether COMI should continue to be made mandatory considering that the manufacturers have their own Supplier Accreditation Program to check whether the meat being delivered to them are safe and handled properly. They proposed that COMI be secured only if their buyers would require it.

The industry expressed that the processing time in securing LTO and CPR is excessive. Issuance of LTO would usually takes 91 days or more while CPR takes 114 days or more. In light of the effectivity of RA 11032, FDA reported that they are continuously finding ways in easing up the requirements, upgrading their IT infrastructure and rollout of the improved online system by October 2018. 

There are more than 100 meat processing establishments in the Philippines, more than half can be found in National Capital Region and Region 3.  The industry employs around 22,000 personnel based on latest Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data.  Local sales of processed meat is projected to be expanded in coming years due to increasing population, rapid urbanization and increasing per capita income. ♦

 

Date of Release: 14 August 2018

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