The proposed sub-projects for the construction of 27 units of “AA” slaughterhouses and rehabilitation and improvement of 7 existing “AA” slaughterhouses submitted by 34 Local government units from all provinces of Bicol were favorably endorsed by the Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) of the Department of Agriculture to the South Luzon Project Office for approval and funding during its meeting on September 30, 2020 conducted virtually. The aggregate costs of the 34 units of these projects totals to Php1.065 billion.

The proponent LGUs saw the importance of investing in slaughterhouse after the National Meat Inspection Service through its OIC–Regional Director Dr. Alex Templonuevo has been aggressively promoting the establishment of slaughterhouse to provide consumers clean, fresh and quality meat compliance to hygienic slaughtering, make trading segment of swine and cattle more efficient that will positively affect raisers’ income. He underscored that the slaughterhouse is not only a vital facility to be provided by LGUs as stipulated in the Local Government Code but is also a viable and profitable investment as it can also generate revenue for the LGU and generate employment.

Dr. Templonuevo who was invited as resource person during the RPAB meeting explained that the slaughterhouse can address the present emerging animal health diseases like the ASF and elevate the meat hygiene situation in the LGUs.

The PRDP which is funded by the World Bank with counterpart from the Philippine government is jointly being implemented by the Department of Agriculture and the Local Government Units. The project is primarily intended to boost rural income and reduce poverty by improving rural infrastructure, supporting small enterprises and livelihood projects in the rural areas across the country. It has aligned its thrusts to the DA’s vision of transforming the Philippine Agriculture: During COVID 19 and Beyond by ensuring strong value chain, affordable, safe and nutritious food and a vibrant rural economy. The WB has approved the Retrofitted Additional Financing 2 amounting to US $280 million wherein 31% are to be identified from the subprojects to support the infrastructure types identified in the DA-ALPAS program that would restore the food supply chain disrupted due to COVID 19. These include pre- and post- harvest infra facilities, access road, bridges, irrigation systems, and water supply subprojects and other infrastructures in line with the commodity value chain of the region.

The proposals for slaughter houses in Bicol were classified into five categories based on capacity and cost. The first category has the capability of slaughtering 60-100 heads per day but whose structural and operational components is pegged at Php50 million. Included in this category are Daraga and Tabaco City in Albay; Daet in Camarines Norte and Placer in Masbate. The second category has also the capability of slaughtering 60 to 100 heads per day but the total cost of the structural and operational components is placed at Php 40million. The proponent LGUs which qualified under this category are: Calabanga and Buhi in Camarines Sur and Virac in Catanduanes. The third category has the capability of slaughtering 20 to 60 heads per day and the total cost is Php30 million. Included in this category are Capalonga and Jose Panganiban in Camarines Norte; Ragay, Milaor, Bula and Ocampo in Camarines Sur and Bulan and Gubat in Sorsogon.

Eight municipalities qualified to the 4th category which is capable of slaughtering 15-50 heads per day and with structural and operational component worth only Php 20 million. These include Malilpot in Albay; Cabusao, Del Gallego, and Sangay in Camarines Sur; Bato in Catanduanes; Matnog, Barcelona and Sta. Magdalena in Sorsogon.

Meanwhile, 5 cities and 1 municipality proposed and qualified for the Improvement/ Rehabilitation of their existing AA abattoir capable of slaughtering more than 100 heads per day. The cost for improvement varies for each LGU but ranges from Php 20 million to P50 million. These include Legaspi City and Ligao City in Albay; Naga City, Iriga City and Sipocot in Camarines Sur and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon. The required area for the site of all the proposed slaughterhouses is set by NMIS at a minimum of 2,000 square meters. Under the PRDP, the cost sharing for the project implementation is 80% from the loan proceeds; 10% from the government of the Philippines and only 10% will be the equity of the proponent LGU.

The team of Dr. Templonuevo together with the PRDP Bicol I-Build team headed by Engineer Ted Eleda went on a marathon ocular inspection and validation all the prospective sites in the 6 provinces.

On same meeting the RPAB members present decided to terminate the implementation of the Construction/Rehabilitation of Pinagwarasan- Lanot farm-to market road connecting Basud and Mercedes in Camarines Norte with an original target length of 35.7 kms and supposed to be completed on May 2017 but to date has only 52.49% actual work accomplishment. The main reason cited was the hazardous situation in the area due to threats of the insurgents against the contractor and even the PRDP personnel.

The RPAB virtual meeting or teleconference was facilitated by Adelina A. Losa, PRDP-Bicol Deputy Proj. Director. DA Regional Executive Director and PRDP –Bicol Proj.. Director, Rodel P. Tornilla also joined the meeting and commended the proponent groups and LGUs including the Bicol PRDP team for turning out a very good performance despite the difficulty in mobility and conduct of some activities due to the COVID 19 pandemic. He cited in particular the LGU of Aroroy, Masbate and the contractor for setting a record of finishing its FMR sub-project 5 months ahead of its targeted completion timeline.

The RPAB members who participated were; Eng. Sergio Uy of DPWH; Lerma Dino of DAR; John Michael Gangawan of DENR; Suzette Brioso Buenaventura of DTI; Antonio Pasano of DILG; Nonie Enolva of BFAR and Jose Cordero of RAFC and other staff of the PRDP Bicol (EMILY B. BORDADO/DA-RAFIS 5 /INFOACE 5)