TS Henry, Inday leave P500M-worth of damage in agriculture, fisheries – DA
by UNTV News and Rescue | Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol on Monday (July 23) revealed more than half a billion pesos worth of damage in agriculture and fisheries brought about by tropical cyclones “Henry” and “Inday.”
According to a report from DA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center on Sunday (July 22), the total amount of damage in figure is estimated at P565.19 million.
On his latest social media post, Piñol said the rice sector suffered P428.03 million. Over 26,000 hectares of rice paddies were recorded in Pangasinan, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampang, Tarlac, Batangas, Rizal, Laguna, Occidental Mindoro, Negros Occidental, and Aklan. The estimated production loss is at 314 metric tons.
Meanwhile, damages in the country’s fish production and facilities amounted to a total of P136.16 million including fishing gears and paraphernalia in Cordillera Autonomous Region, Regions 1, 2 and Calabarzon.
According to Piñol, affected rice farmers will be provided with rice seed buffer-stocks to recover from their losses. DA also promised assistance to affected fishermen. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo
by UNTV News and Rescue | Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday (November 6) reported over 100,000 hectares of agricultural land were damaged during the onslaught of typhoon Rosita in Northern and Central Luzon.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said the rice fields suffered the most devastation.
The overall estimated damage in agriculture has reached P2.6 billion.
Because of this, Piñol said the country may not be able to reach its target harvest of 19 million metric tons of rice because the recent typhoon damaged about 800,000 metric tons or more than 16 million bags of palay.
Nevertheless, the DA said this year’s yield still surpasses the volume of production in 2016 and the agency assured there is enough supply of rice in the country.
Apart from damages in palay, typhoon Rosita also hurt the poultry industry such as in Isabela. But Piñol said the agency has already provided assistance to the affected sector.
Meanwhile, the governments of Vietnam and Thailand did not participate in the bidding with the National Food Authority (NFA) regarding the 203,000 metric tons of rice for importation.
According to NFA Assistant Administrator Mercedes Yacapin, the two governments did not accept the conditions of the importation particularly the timing of delivery which was supposed to be in December this year.
Yacapin said that though the bidding failed, the agency is confident of the country’s buffer stocks as local farmers are already helping with the needed volume.
“There is an ongoing harvest right now and the NFA is able to procure palay. We are able to buy because of the additional incentives we give to the farmers. It’s helping,” she explained further.
She also noted that the implementation of the suggested retail price (SRP) in rice is helping consumers cope with the rising inflation.
“The suggested retail price has been implemented in the market. This is nationwide so it’s helping a lot in tempering inflation,” Yacapin added. “It means lesser pressure on the part of the NFA for the rice. In fact, ang pressure ay di na masyado sa merkado.”
With this, Secretary Piñol said, retailers are obliged to follow the SRP which means lesser possibility for profiteering.
“Actually stable ang supply ng bigas pero ayaw ko na maulit iyong sitwasyon na naubusan ng NFA rice sa merkado,” Piñol said.
The Agriculture Secretary also confirmed that the importation of 750MT or 15M bags of rice will push through before the end of the year. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
by UNTV News and Rescue | Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018
PASAY CITY, Philippines – Several boxes of live chickens were recently seized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
A source, who requested anonymity, provided UNTV News with pictures of game fowls in boxes, and some in open cages, seemingly dead.
The source said the first shipment arrived on October 9 through Philippine Airlines Flight PR105 from San Francisco, California.
Allegedly, the shipment has no health certificate and endorsement papers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Instead, they were attached with fake import clearance from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).
The source said despite illegal documents, a total of 168 heads of game fowls were released for $120 shipment fee per head.
The second shipment arrived the following day, October 10. They are still on hold at the PAL Cargo warehouse.
The source warned that the game fowls might be infected with Newcastle Disease which is now causing an outbreak in Southern California. He said a broker was using the name of Secretary Manny Piñol to release the shipment.
Shipment of game fowls still on hold at the PAL Cargo warehouse
The alleged broker, he said, claimed that he is a friend of the Agriculture Secretary.
The UNTV News team sought the side of Secretary Piñol on the matter.
He explained that he immediately ordered the seizure of the shipment. He also admitted that he knows who the importer of the game fowls is.
“Sabi ko: ‘Pasensya ka na pero hindi lulusot ito. Kasi kapag kulang ang papeles mo, maski kaibigan pa kita, talagang hindi pwedeng lumusot,'” he said referring to a conversation with the importer.
According to Piñol, only 80 heads from the shipment were released after they were presented with health certificates.
The DA-BAI was also able to block the release of 300 heads more.
Piñol explained that under the law, importers are given 10 days to produce the necessary documents for their shipments.
Nevertheless, he already ordered the culling of the game fowls as they can be carriers of a new strain of avian virus currently infecting chickens in California.
“I issued another order, a new order, banning altogether the shipment of chicken coming from California shipped through either San Francisco or Los Angeles. And that will stay until such time that the USDA has issued a clearance na wala ng NCD outbreak sa California,” the secretary explained.
“I cannot be perfect all the time, but, hindi ako maaring magbigay ng pabor sa isang kaibigan maski mali na pwede kong pagbigyan sapagkat meron akong mas malaking responsibilidad. Mayroon akong responsibilidad sa mga kaibigan ko pero mas malaki ang responsibilidad ko sa taong bayan,” Piñol said.
The DA is now preparing the necessary legal actions to take against the importer or broker. The agency is also checking if there were similar incidents of forged health certificates presented for virus-infected chickens that might jeopardize the country’s poultry industry.
The secretary added that he mulls on possible revamp of BAI personnel after the incident. — Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo
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