Calabanga, Camarines Sur –  True to its promise to provide assistance to backyard raisers affected by the African Swine Fever, the Department of Agriculture Bicol through the Livestock Program provided 1,000, range chickens to some 127 backyard raisers in municipality of Bombon and Calabanga over the week. The packet of Kabir chicken which consisted of about 2 month-old hens and roosters were given to backyard raisers whose pigs died due to the ASF virus after the declaration of its outbreak in the area but prior to start of depopulation. They were those who were not entitled for indemnifications per guideline issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry. But aware of their predicament, the DA-Bicol through regional executive Rodel P. Tornilla found ways to help these backyard raisers recoup their loss and have an alternative livelihood meantime that their areas have not been declared ASF free – hence, not yet fit for hog raising.

In Magarao, another town affected by ASF 17 backyard hog raisers who lost their pig to ASF prior to depopulation were also given 425 mallard ducks.

Arnel Orante  from Balongay who lost 3 pigs to the ASF virus was thankful for the 13 kabir chicken given to him over the week. “Dakulang bagay ini ta dai pa man palan puwede kami mag ataman ulit ki orig. Makakadagdag ini sa  hanapbuhay mi  sa papapabakal nipa” (This is a big help to us especially as we were told we cannot yet engaged in  swine production. This will augment our income from nipa production.)

Editha Legarto from Barangay San Isidro also said “Marhay ining manok na pigtao samuya. Nakaataman na ako kaini. Madali ini magdarakula bako pa gayong masakit atamanon. Bako sana ining pang konsumo pwede pang pasugukon o ipabakal pag nagdakul para may dagdag na income.”  (These chicken given to us is good enough. I had reared this kind before. They grow fast and they are not difficult to rear. This is not just for household consumption. They can be grown as layers or they can be multiplied and sold for additional income).

Marjon Daliva from barangay Sto. Niño, Quipayo, 24 years old, was the youngest among the recipients. He is a plumber and sometimes he is hired as hollow blocks maker. He raises pig in their backyard as an additional source of income. But during the outbreak of the ASF in their locality his pigs died even before depopulation has commenced. He was not in the list of those qualified to be given indemnification but was listed just the same for possible assistance. He was not very hopeful and was surprised when he received the notice that he will be among those to be given range  chicken.  “Dakulang tabang na ini samo, arog sako na construction worker sana asin joven pa. Maski purupano may iba pa akong pagkukuanan ka income.”  (This is a big help for us, especially for me who is just a construction worker and still young. This will be another source of income.)

Angelino Villamer of Sto. Tomas Magarao who lost 7 sows and 7 growers due to ASF Virus, recalled that it was painful losing those pigs he treasures. “Makulog ta garu ako naputulan nin muro. Pero ngonian nauugma ako ta  nahale na kulog kan boot ko. Dakulang tabang ini.”  (It was painful  as if I lost a finger but I am happy now as I no longer have hurt feelings. This is a big help for me.)

Virgilio Agduro, Sr. of Sta. Lucia, Magarao also expressed his appreciation.  “Dakulang pasalamat ko na natawan ako kaini. Pag kagadan kan mga orig ko nag ataman na ako manok. Igua na ako 16 na manok. Gusto naman manudan pag-ataman kaining itik.” (I am very thankful that I was given this. When my pigs died I shifted to chicken raising. I already have 16. I want also to learn rearing ducks.)

Dr. Marissa Guillermo, DA’s Regional Livestock Program coordinator explained to the recipients that the chicken and ducks they are distributing to ASF affected farmers who did not qualify for indemnification is intended to provide alternative source of income and tide them over the next 3 to 6 months since they could not engage in pig production or swine raising until their area is not yet declared ASF- free. She urged the recipients to take good care of the fowls which they can rear as layers and use the eggs for their consumption or sale or they can have the eggs hatched and multiply the number of their chicken not only for family consumption but also for sale. She also announced that later they intend to organize the recipients into groups or cluster which can be provided assistance  by the DA.

Prior to the distribution the recipients were given a short orientation on the proper care, feeding and management of the fowls by Marianito Tesorero, a staff of the Livestock Program. During the distribution social distancing and the wearing of masks was strictly observed.

Meanwhile, the Bombon-Quipayo Irrigators Association was also provided 100 range chicken by the DA upon request of Silvestre Bonto, president of the National Confederation Irrigators’ Association Inc. (EMILY B. BORDADO/DA-RAFIS 5)