WITH the “Covid of pigs” severely impacting the P200-billion swine industry, insurance must be given to hog-raisers as they continue to battle the effects of the African swine fever (ASF), Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Friday.
“Dagdagan ang insurance lalo na sa mga magbababoy ngayon para sila ay tumaya. Ma-insure ang kanilang per head na mga baboy para pag tinamaan ng swine flu, kahit paano ay makakabawi sila,” Pangilinan said.
Cash assistance and insurance, which would also necessitate reporting of ASF, would be more useful to ASF-affected hog-raisers, said the senator-farmer.
“Mas mabuti din ang insurance para mas ma-track nang mabuti ang pagkalat ng sakit — parang contact tracing ng mga baboy,” Pangilinan added.
In a dialogue with agriculture stakeholders for the sixth episode of online show Agri Tayo (https://fb.watch/3KUhNDRhdm/), Pangilinan assured the swine industry that he is in full support of providing additional insurance coverage for hog-raisers to be able to continue with their livelihood despite the threat of ASF.
Entitled “Presyo ng mga Bilihin: Hindi Ka Ma-Reach,” the Agri Tayo episode aims to delve deeper into the issue of rising food prices in the province of Pangasinan. Present in the dialogue are farmers and fisherfolk cooperatives, provincial and municipal agriculturists, agriculture students, and farmer-beneficiaries of the Sagip Saka program nationwide.
According to stakeholders in Pangasinan, hog-raisers are asking for stricter animal quarantine inspection, investigation of possible new sources of ASF, an IATF-like task force to focus on the containment of ASF, and insurance protection.
“Ang suporta is, unang-una po: Alagaang mabuti ang animal quarantine implementation para wala pong labas-pasok, para ‘yung community contaminations will be controlled. Ginawa po namin ‘yan sa Pangasinan noon… Gumastos po kami ng sarili naming pera upang alagaan lang ang aming mga borders. Pero limitado rin po ang magagawa namin. Kaya nalulusutan pa kami,” said Engr. Albert Estolas, president of the Pangasinan Hog Raisers Association.
Other panelists included Condrado Gaerlan, MAFC (municipal agriculture and food council) chairman of Villasis, Pangasinan; Twinkie Palangas Kim, backyard hog-raiser from Malasiqui, Pangasinan; Paolo Nicomedes, president of the Agriculture Students Association of the Philippines; and representatives of the Department of Agriculture Region 1, Wilhelmina Castaneda, and Region 3, Eduviges Pelayo.
UPLB Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics Professor Geny Lapina, meanwhile, cautions against the sustainability of price ceiling if no adequate support is given to producers such as hog-raisers.
“Pag naglagay ka ng price ceiling ngayon, yung producers mo tumataas din ang kanilang cost of production, napakahirap i-meet ‘yung price ceiling na ‘yon. Oo, magbibigay ng subsidy ang ating DA pero napakahirap i-sustain,” Lapina said.
Pangilinan commits that these concerns will be brought up in the upcoming second Senate hearing on the rising food prices scheduled for Monday, February 22.
“Ginawa po natin ngayon ang Agri Tayo episode na ito para mas lalong mapakinggan ang hinaing ng industriyang apektado rin ng pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin. Layon po natin ngayon na madala ang mga kwentong ito sa Senado nang masolusyunan sa agarang panahon. Ano pa ba ang ibang pwedeng gawin para masigurong walang maiiwan — mamimili man yan o yung mismong producer ng pagkain?” Pangilinan said.
Agri Tayo is an online engagement series of the Office of Senator Pangilinan that tackles relevant issues surrounding the agriculture sector. Topics ranged from urban gardening to super foods with past guests including Neri Naig-Miranda, Ces Drilon, Dr. Jimmy Galvez-Tan, and Judy Ann Santos.