The Palace assured that a whole-of-government approach is being used to address the issue of supply and high prices of pork products.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr, in a press briefing on February 4, informed the public that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the members of his Cabinet approved and strongly supported the recommendations of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other Departments to stabilize the supplies and prices of major food commodities, particularly pork and chicken.
“Una, ang DA Regional Field Units at iba pang attached agencies at mga korporasyon ng DA ay maglalaan ng resources para bumili ng mga baboy mula Visayas at Mindanao at mga probinsya sa Luzon na ASF-free, at ita-transport ang mga ito sa mga pangunahing pampublikong palengke sa Metro Manila, simula ngayong weekend, sa presyong mula P270 hanggang P300 bawat kilo, para sa kapakanan ng mga mamimili,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace official also said that the DA will strongly pursue efforts to revive the country’s swine industry with a massive ‘Repopulation Program’ in partnership with the private sector, veterinary groups, LGUs, and organized swine groups. The DA will allot an initial P1B for the “Repopulation Program,” including P500-Million worth of zero-interest loans to backyard and semi-commercial raisers, said Secretary Roque.
Another measure is the DA’s plan to intensify the “Bantay ASF sa Barangay” to effectively manage, prevent and control the dreaded African Swine Flu (ASF) virus. The campaign will be strongly pursued in tandem with the LGUs, private sector, veterinary groups, and hog raisers’ associations.
Moreover, the DA has made initial arrangements to procure an ASF vaccine developed by the US Department of Agriculture, which is currently clinically- and field-tested in Vietnam, said Roque.
“Ito po yung Whole-of-Nation Measures para buhayin ang industriya ng pagba-baboy at pababain ang presyo ng baboy. Gumagawa po tayo ng hakbang. Di natin ninais na madali tayo ng ASF kasabay ng COVID-19, pero babangon din po tayo,” said Roque.
The Palace spokesman also shared in the same press briefing the good news of the approval by President Duterte and the Cabinet of the recommendations to assist lifeliner electric consumers.
“Sino ba ho iyong mga tinatawag nating lifeliners? Eto po yung mahihirap na kakaunti lamang ang konsumo ng kuryente, kadalasan nga po low-income consumers, meron lang tatlong bumbilya, isang radyo at talagang limitado po ang appliances,” explained Roque.
Under the approved recommendation, electric lifeliner consumers will enjoy the following: no disconnection until February 2021, extension of grace period for additional two months to pay electric bills, and option for installment payment. “Ito pong inaprubahan kahapon ay dagdag na proteksyon para sa mahihirap at nagsusulong ng energy efficiency sa panahon ng pandemya,” Roque said.
On another matter, former Health Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral explained that the Filipinos’ vaccine hesitancy stemmed from certain issues about the vaccines as mentioned in an online survey conducted by the UST-COVAX Research group. The said survey conducted from January 16-30, 2021 identified that the topmost issue with regard to vaccines is the issue on the vaccine being fake, including worries about safety and efficacy.
Dr. Cabral said that vaccine confidence is not only an issue of accurate and timely information but also of trust in the information giver. Cabral recommended that it would be best if vaccine information will come from healthcare providers or doctors who are believed by many as the most reliable when it comes to vaccine information.
Meanwhile, on the preparation of LGUs for the coming of the vaccines, Mayor Lino Cayetano of Taguig City presented his city’s vaccination plan, which includes the availability of a cold chain storage facility that can handle vaccines that require sub-zero temperatures, and the readiness of vaccination centers and vaccinators. ### OPS-PCOO