Press Release
February 24, 2021


Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to incentivize and compensate commercial farms that will observe bio safety protocols in their farms in a bid to prevent further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

DA Secretary William Dar had confirmed to Hontiveros that they will be proposing to other cabinet members the expansion of insurance coverage under the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to include commercial farmers and coverage for five (5) million pigs.

Hontiveros also pushed for free insurance coverage over the next two years for farms inside ASF-free areas and potential green zone areas that can level up compliance with infection control regulations. This, according to her, will not only provide relief to commercial farmers, but also be a key instrument for ASF recovery.

"Win-win solution ito. The insurance subsidy will not only be a relief measure for hog raisers but also be an instrument of recovery. Mapipigilan din ang pagkalat ng ASF na pinakamalaking obstacle sa supply problem na nagpapataas ng presyo ng karneng baboy. This will also serve as a common ground that can start to bring goodwill back between the DA and the private sector," she said.

At present, commercial hog raisers are not included under the insurance program of PCIC, and have not received support from the government commensurate to their huge losses. With limited resources, according to Hontiveros, the commercial farms are having a hard time following safety protocols and installing systems for infection control exacerbating the pork supply problem. She adds that "the lack of insurance cover also undermines the objective of early detection because hog raisers who fear their pigs might be culled have a tendency to, instead, dispose of them cheaply and fast to buyers."

"Sa ibang mga bansa na may ASF, gaya ng Vietnam, mas kaya ng malalaking producers ang pag-monitor at pagsunod sa biosafety protocols. Dito sa Pilipinas, karamihan ay maliliit na backyard farmers, pero hindi sapat ang tulong na binibigay ng gobyerno. Kaya dapat ilibre na ang insurance at isama sa mabibigyan ng P10,000 insurance payout ang mga commercial farms na nasa loob ng green zones ng DA," she said.

The Senator hopes that immediate action will be taken such as allocating additional funds to PCIC, and including insurance payout to cover as much of the loss as possible for farms that will repopulate within the green zones in DA's proposed 2022 budget.

"ASF ang major contributor kung bakit mataas ang presyo ng karneng baboy. Kaya dapat maagapan ang lalong pagkalat nito. Hindi ito kakayanin lang ng maliliit na hog raisers, kailangan ng kagyat at malawakang tulong mula sa gobyerno na makakarating hindi lang sa iilan, kundi sa lahat," she concluded.

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