The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board – National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) intensified its review on Metropolitan Manila’s socio-economic conditions, taking into consideration the impact of the prolonged quarantine and health protocols, state of business activities including closures and retrenchments, regional employment situation, and supply and price of basic commodities, among others.

Part of the said review, the Board was able to tap the Department of Agriculture (DA) on February 11, 2021 via virtual meeting to provide updates on the current supply of agricultural products, particularly on the pork supply as well as processed meat products brought by the African Swine Fever (ASF) that led to abrupt increase of prices in the market. 

Dr. Janice S. Garcia, Veterinarian III of Animal Health and Welfare Division at the DA-Bureau of Animal Industry and member of the National African Swine Fever Task Force, provided updates on the ASF situation in the country. As of January 1, 2021, Garcia said that the total swine inventory declined from 12.80 million to 9.72 million heads that accounted for 24.1% decrease, while the population in backyard and commercial farms contracted by -13.3% and -41.8% respectively. She also added that as of February 5, 2021, a total of 436,423 culled animals from different barangays and municipalities/cities in the country were already executed. 

Among DA’s major interventions to address the issue is the formation of “Bantay ASF sa Barangay,” which was primarily rolled-out by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units in the area to ensure the prevention and control of the virus and recovery of hog raisers. Such can be done by issuance of ordinances and designation of appropriate personnel in the affected areas to execute said program.

END / Kim Lagcao