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Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-CALABARZON, led by OIC-Regional Executive Director Ms. Vilma M. Dimaculangan, has resumed its distribution of indemnification to African Swine Fever (ASF)-stricken farmers in the region immediately after the Department of Budget and Management released a total of P49,960,000 for such purpose.

On March 5, the regional office paid a total of P8,790,000 to 210 hog raisers from the towns of Sariaya, Candelaria, and Tiaong in Quezon for the 1,758 hogs they surrendered for depopulation.

Director Dimaculangan assured all hog raisers who are qualified to receive indemnification will receive their financial assistance in due time.

“Para po sa mga hog raiser na hindi mabibigyan ng indemnification sa batch na ito, maghintay lamang po tayo ng kaunting panahon. Sinisiguro po namin na kayo po ay makakatanggap dahil hindi po kami tumitigil para kayo po ay matulungan at makabangong muli,” Director Dimaculangan said.

Aside from the indemnification, Director Dimaculangan reiterated several programs that the Department is offering to ASF-affected farmers.

“Mayroon po tayong iba’t ibang uri ng pautang para sa ating mga magsasaka sa ilalim ng Agricultural Credit Policy Council. Ito po ay walang interes at pwedeng bayaran ng mahabang panahon. Namamahagi rin po tayo ng feeds, drugs, at biologics sa mga lugar na hindi pa tinatamaan ng virus. Dagdag pa po rito, patuloy po ang ating pamamahagi ng alternative livelihood assistance gaya ng mga baka, kambing, kalabaw, native at broiler chicken, quail, at mushroom production modules,” Ms. Dimaculangan said.

Meanwhile, Regional Livestock Program Coordinator Dr. Jerome G. Cuasay discussed the importance of clustering in the delivery of agricultural support from the regional office. He said that interventions such as feeds, medicines, and alternative livelihood programs can only be accessed by a clustered farmers’ groups. “Tuluy-tuloy po ang pagtulong ng ating ahensya sa ating mga clustered farmers’ groups. Magtulung-tulong po tayo upang maibalik ang sigla ng pagbababuyan at agrikultura sa rehiyon,” Dr. Cuasay said.

Quezon Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Flomella A. Caguicla expressed her appreciation to hog raisers in Sariaya for their sacrifice in surrendering their hogs. “Sa pamamagitan po ng inyong pakikipagtulungan, napigil po natin ang pagkalat ng ASF sa Sariaya. Patungo na po tayo ngayon sa pink zone at hindi magtatagal ay maaari na ulit kayong mag-alaga ng baboy. Ipagpatuloy po natin ang ating pagtutulungan upang maiwasan natin ang muling pagpasok at pagkalat ng ASF sa ating lugar,” Dr. Caguicla noted.

Mr. Cedric Mendoza (not his real name), a 61-year-old hog raiser from Candelaria, expressed his appreciation to the regional office. After surrendering 10 pigs, he received P50,000 worth of indemnification from the Department. “Napalaki po ng aking pasasalamat sa bigay po ng DA sa amin na tulong. Malaking kaginhawahan po ito sa aming mga nawalan ng hanap-buhay dulot ng ASF,” Mr. Mendoza said.

On the other hand, Ms. Suzette Lacsamana (not her real name), a 54-year-old pig raiser from Sariaya, thanked the regional office for the P15,000 she received. “Napakalaking tulong po ng aking natanggap na P15,000 mula sa DA. Sa pamamagitan po nito ay makakabangon po kaming muli,” Ms. Plata said.

The distribution of indemnification for ASF-affected farmers in CALABARZON was recommenced on March 4 wherein several towns in the province of Quezon including Lopez, Atimonan, and Gumaca were already granted financial assistance.

The Regional Livestock Program is expected to give out indemnification to other ASF-affected areas in CALABARZON in the succeeding days. (MAP, DA-RAFIS)