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Solon wants an outdated law changed to assist small-scale animal farmers.

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A party-list senator stated on Thursday that unorganized backyard livestock raisers need to receive appropriate financial support in order to recover from the pandemics of the coronavirus illness (Covid-19) and the African swine flu.

According to a statement from Representative Alfred Delos Santos of the Ang Probinsyano Party list, unorganized backyard raisers will be the ones most negatively impacted by any crisis that affects the livestock and poultry industry.

“I applaud the Department of Agriculture for encouraging more organized backyard farms and animal raisers, but I also observed a loophole that folks who don’t or can’t qualify for it could fall through. The unorganized cattle farmers do not have an effective safety net, “added Delos Santos.

The statute merging some monies into the Philippine Livestock Promotion Fund, Republic Act No. 1578, he pointed out, has not undergone the necessary updating since its passage in 1956, which would have benefited livestock raisers, particularly small-holders or backyard farmers, the most.

The 67-year-old law urgently needs to be updated, he said, and Congress must address this.

He claimed that Section 2 of the statute, which deals with the potential uses of the fund, does not include any provisions for assisting or safeguarding the particular interests of backyard livestock raisers.

He continued by stating that Section 3 of RA 1578 prohibits the Director of Animal Industry from directly providing financial support to backyard livestock farmers through the use of the fund.

The House Bill (HB) 3655, introduced by Delos Santos, stipulates that backyard farmers who wish to receive direct financial aid must register with the Department of Agriculture’s Registration System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

The bill also gives other local governing bodies in the National Capital Region the option to outlaw slaughterhouses if they see fit inside their borders. Only the City of Manila is subject to the present ban under RA 1578.

In addition, the measure raises the slaughter fees from the 1956 levels specified in RA 1578 to PHP 120 (from PHP 0.90) per head for cattle, carabaos, buffaloes, horses, mules, and other members of the bovine family; PHP 80 (from PHP 0.60) per head for swine; and PHP 40 [PHP 0.30] per head for sheep, goats, and deer.

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