THE Manila-based company that paid for major sponsorship of the Sinulog 2020 festival was barred by Capitol from selling its pork products to the public as the province-wide ban on hog imports and the sale of pork from Luzon remains in effect.
San Miguel Food and Beverages, Inc. cannot expect to sell its pork products under the company’s Purefoods-Hormel Company Inc. brand despite its P3-million exclusive sponsorship agreement with SFI following a reminder from Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2020 that the ban on pork from Luzon will remain in effect. Garcia said that while she was grateful for the support shown by San Miguel Foods for Sinulog, she will not allow its pork products to enter the city for the safety of everyone.
Earlier, Garcia received a copy of a letter from Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc. (Pampi) president Felix Tiukinhoy, Jr. addressed to SFI executive director Elmer “Jojo” Labella, bringing attention to the product sponsorship of San Miguel Purefoods, which specified hotdogs and tocino as part of the sponsorhip package.
“As far as we know, the specified items are pork based covered by the entry ban imposed by the Cebu City and provincial government which remains in effect,” said Tiukinhoy in his letter to Labella dated January 14, 2020.
Tiukinhoy is the president of Cebu-based Virginia Foods Inc.
“I hope you will take the ban into consideration and act accordingly,” Tiukinhoy said in his letter to SFI’s Labella.
In September 2019, Garcia ordered a complete ban on live hog imports and pork products from Luzon after it was confirmed that African swine fever (ASF) was present in parts of Rizal and Bulacan. Cebu’s ban on pork from Luzon remains in effect until June 30, 2020.
Under its sponsorship agreement with SFI, San Miguel Foods committed to pay P3 million with P2,750,000 in cash and 250,000 in kind in exchange for “merchandising and selling exclusivity” of Tender Juicy, Purefoods Tocino, Purefoods Nuggets and Star Corned Beef in food bazaars at the Cebu City Sports Center, Plaza Independencia and Fuente Osmeña Circle.
Under its platinum sponsorship agreement with SFI, the company has exclusive rights to sell beer in the three specified venues.
“We would just wish to remind those that are extending support that we also have an existing ban against the entry of pork, pork related products and commingled products coming from Luzon and even Region 8,” the governor said.
“If they really wish to give their support not just in cash but also in kind and in terms of hotdogs or other finger foods, we have locally-produced products which are certified ASF free because we have continued to be very vigilant against ASF,” Garcia added.
Garcia clarified that pork products from Cebu are not banned from being sold during Sinulog.
“This is not to say that there will practically be no hotdogs. Just like during Christmas, there were hams, however they were locally produced. In the same manner, I would also wish to ask Pampi and San Miguel whatever their needs, maybe that can be locally sourced,” said Garcia.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mary Rose Vincoy, head of the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) and the provincial ASF task force, said that all of its members will strictly monitor pork products entering Cebu during Sinulog.
“It will be confiscated, and I hope that the public would report these products,” said Vincoy.
SunStar Cebu tried to get the side of Labella however several calls made to the SFI official’s cellphone remained unanswered as of press time.
Earlier, SFI also drew flak for entering into an P800,000 contract with cable station MyTV Channel 30 for the exclusive video coverage of the Sinulog grand parade at the Cebu City Sports Center. Heeding the public outcry against the exclusive coverage, Mayor Edgardo Labella announced that the exclusive video coverage will not be put in effect but MyTV will be given the right to pick first its location at the grand stand. (ANV/ RHB)