Fri. Mar 5th, 2021

Press Release
February 21, 2021

Help local hog raisers recover from P56-B lost due to African swine fever: Pangilinan

ADEQUATE support must be given to local hog raisers who have reportedly lost P56-billion due to the African swine fever (ASF) as they bear the brunt of the Philippines’ ongoing battle against the “Covid” for pigs, said Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Sunday.

“Ang focus natin ay dapat muna sa local. Bago pa man umasa sa importation, siguruhin din munang makaka-recover ang supply ng baboy locally. Dahil sa kakulangan ng suplay, dapat bigyang-pansin ating mga backyard hog raisers at bigyan sila ng suporta para sa kanilang kabuhayan,” Pangilinan said.

Hog producers have said that industry recovery may take five to seven, if not 10 years or more, depending on the interventions.

“Baka kailangan nang i-review ang price ceiling kung epektibo ba. Kung hindi, kailangan nang isipan ng supplemental programs upang mapababa pa ang presyo ng mga bilihin na hindi napapabayaan ang ating mga hog raisers,” Pangilinan said.

As of January 1, 2021, the Philippine swine industry reported a decrease of 24.1 percent in the hog population. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that there is now only an estimated 9.72 million heads compared to 12.8 million during the same period last year.

According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), close to 500,000 hogs have already been culled due to the ASF. But private industry hog raisers say that this is an underestimation and that there are allegedly 4.7 million hogs affected by the ASF.

“Base sa sinabi sa natin ng mga magbabababoy, mas malaki talaga ang problema at pinakaapektado ang ating mga backyard hog raisers. Mga maliliit na mambababoy na malaking parte ng kita ay nakasalalay sana rito,” Pangilinan said.

“Ilang mga pwedeng solusyon ay dagdagan ang cash subsidy na binibigay sa ating mga hog raisers para sa bawat baboy na kinakailangang i-cull dahil sa ASF. Nariyan din ang pagbibigay ng mas maayos na insurance upang magkaroon ng kumpiyansa ang mga magbababoy na magpatuloy,” he added.

As of January 28, the DA has reportedly released P1.3 billion indemnity fund for ASF-affected hog raisers.

An assistance of P 5,000 is offered to hog raisers per pig culled. While the focus is on qualified beneficiaries that have 20 hogs or less, only a maximum of 10 heads can be paid for.

“Sapat pa ba ang tulong na binibigay ng gobyerno? Ang hinaing sa atin ng industriya ay kulang pa. Kung ganoon, bakit hindi paigtingin ang pagbibigay tulong o kaya naman ay dagdagan? Lalo pa nakita natin na malaking pondo ng DA sa ilalim ng Bayanihan 2 ay hindi pa nagagalaw,” Pangilinan said, noting that only less than half of the P24 billion allocation has so far been disbursed.

The former food security chief also urges the government to be more transparent with their data and provide more regular updates regarding the status of the ASF.

“Maraming backyard hog raisers ay tinigil muna ang pagbababoy. Maaring bigyan muna sila ng alternative livelihood — kung hindi man swine ay fisheries muna. Dito papasok ang mas maayos dapat na monitoring sana ng DA — para malaman natin kung nasaan at sino ang pinaka-naapektuhan at paano sila matutulungan,” Pangilinan said.

Three weeks into the price freeze for pork, data from the DA’s Bantay Presyo Monitoring as of February 19 place pork belly (liempo) at P350 per kilo and pork ham (kasim) at P300 per kilo despite the supposed price cap of P300 and P270 respectively.

The price freeze is supposed to be implemented in Metro Manila for 60 days, starting from February 8 to April 9, 2021.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform is set to convene on Monday, February 22, for the second hearing on rising food prices.

By Bureau