Press Release
December 29, 2017

Villar bats for animal wastes management

Small steps to prevent pollution from animal wastes and to promote renewable energy sources (biogas) and sustainable methods (vermicomposting) will really go a long way in minimizing the effects of climate change and protecting the environment, said Sen. Cynthia A. Villar.

Villar said she is glad that the ATI-International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ATI-ITCPH) has incorporated in their School-on-the-Air (SOA) training course animal waste management, particularly how to efficiently and appropriately manage and utilize wastes into a beneficial energy source (biogas) and compost including vermicomposting as well as its relevance on the climate change and disease prevention.

Villar, chairperson of both the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Food and Environment and Natural Resources, was invited Guest Speaker to the graduation of participants of SOA Program: "DUMIskwela: Duming Kita, Duming Alaga, Duming Sagana" (Basic Course on Pig Husbandry, Animal Waste Management & Swine Artificial Insemination)

"Your course is very relevant and unique because farmers should not only learn hog-raising or animal production but also the profitable aspect of it," said Villar.

Furthermore, she said farmers should also learn how to care and protect the environment.

The senator said the course and topics are both very relevant and crucial to the Philippines for two main reasons. First, the Philippines is an agricultural country. About two-thirds of the country's population is, directly or indirectly, involved in agriculture. Second, the Philippines is an archipelago, and as such, is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

She cited a recent United Nations report which identified the Philippines (with a population of 100 million) as the third-most at-risk from climate change in the world.

The Philippines was ranked behind the South Pacific island nations of Vanuatu (with a population of only 255,000) and Tonga (with a population of 105,000).

Given their smaller population, she pointed out that the extent of risks associated with climate change between our country and theirs are really not comparable.

"We are also on another report, released by Environmental organization German Watch-- the Global Climate Risk Index--the list of countries most affected by weather-related disasters like storms, floods, and heat waves. It ranked the Philippines as number one, followed by Cambodia and India," related Villar.

Furthermore, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), she said the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia would each need to spend US$5 billion a year by 2020 on climate change adaptation measures.

She said problems due to climate change are realities that "we Filipinos or even nationalities in other countries have been facing, particularly in recent years when extreme weather conditions such as super typhoons, massive flooding, El Niño and La Niña phenomena, among others, have been causing death and destruction in our country."

To make matters worse, the most vulnerable groups within our society -- those living in flood-prone urban and rural areas as well as coastal communities (both vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm surges)--are also mostly indigent families.

The poor need protection from risks. As stated in the Philippine Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP), "Protecting the poor and vulnerable groups is imperative in winning the battle against poverty."

"But of course, we are not without options to make us more resilient to climate change--most, especially Filipino farmers and fisherfolks or agriculture, the most affected sector."

Due to this, the Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies such as ATI are also implementing programs and strategies to mitigate climate change. Sustainable agriculture is the key.

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