A week ago after the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed their lack of budget to help those affected by the African swine fever (ASF), the government is funding P1 billion in compensation to the loss of hog raisers whose pigs were culled due to the disease.
On Wednesday, during a hearing at the House of Representatives, Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan mentioned the DA, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), has set aside P1 B for the ASF-hit pig farmers.
Considering that the members of the Cabinet are difficult to convince, he expressed his appreciation as they approved their proposal.
“It was Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel Avisado who okayed our proposal and said there is money that they can give us. But the motion came from finance chief Carlos Dominguez,” Cayanan added.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier admitted that the DA has inadequate funds for the reimbursement of the culled pigs, although it can provide loans for the affected hog raisers.
“The backyard raisers are the ones really affected. The P1 billion is on the assumption that only up to five percent of the total hog population will be affected by ASF,” Cayanan said.
“Our commercial raisers are not yet affected because they have stricter biosecurity measures and we hope that they will not be affected,” he added.
Meanwhile, based on the calculations the DA has conducted, the P1 billion indemnification budget can cover around 300,000 pigs.
For now, the agriculture department is still handing out P3,500 to hog raisers affected by ASF from the P82 million it previously allocated for the prevention of the disease.
On the other hand, DBM Directed Crisitina Clasara noted that the DA cannot use its quick response fund (QRF) since it does not include cash releases.
She said that the QRF is intended to provide relief to those that may be affected by calamities such as typhoons or relief for affected farmers.