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SP Highlights: Commercial and backyard poultry and livestock raising

“The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets.” -1987 Constitution, Article XII (§ 1, ¶ 2) - The uncontrolled proliferation of flies in the upland barangays of the city has posed serious inconvenience and even public health concerns to the residents of said communities. Given the city government’s mandate to promote public welfare and safeguard its citizenry’s well-being, it acted vigorously and launched several investigations to determine the cause of this problem. Alas, from these enquiries, the uncontrolled commercial and backyard poultry and livestock production in the area was pointed out as one of the major culprits. Raising of chicken and pigs is indeed a major part of agriculture. It is indispensable for the economic growth of the community and the food security of the people. However, it can no longer remain unsupervised. As such, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Naga, thru the sponsorship of Councilors Mila Arroyo, Julian Lavadia Jr. and Cecilia De Asis, decided to enact last 8 August 2017 an ordinance that will regulate the operation of commercial and backyard poultry and livestock farms in Naga City. Ordinance No. 2017-053 generally seeks to balance our pursuit for progress, on one hand, and our right to balanced and healthful ecology, on the other hand. As provided in Ordinance No. 2017-053, we declared a moratorium for opening up of new commercial farms (i.e. poultry-, hog- or other livestock-raising facilities consisting of more than 300 heads of chickens and/or more than 50 heads of hogs or livestock excluding their sucklings) for a period of five years from the effectivity of the said local law. Commercial farms with valid business permits are allowed to continue operation, provided no expansion shall be undertaken within five years. This rule is necessary to prevent further aggravation of the present problem, as well as to give time for the policies and strategies to fully set in before admitting new players in the market. As for backyard farms, there is no moratorium, provided they do not expand to the point of being already classified as a commercial farm. A backyard farm is a small-scale poultry-, hog- or livestock-raising facilities consisting of at least 100 but not more than 300heads of chicken and/or at least 10 but not more than fifty 50 heads of hog or other four-legged animals or livestock, excluding the number of sucklings. Both commercial farms and backyard farms must observed faithfully the provided waste management and pollution control systems, nutrient management practices, as well as the guidelines on pest and noxious and objectional odor control. Though backyard farms have less stringent regulations in recognition of their financial capability, they are, nevertheless, mandated to comply with the provisions of the ordinance; otherwise, their operation may be ordered closed by the city government. It can be noted that there are smaller farms that do not fall under the definition of commercial or backyard farms. As for them, the provisions of the ordinance will not apply, but their activities shall be regulated under the Sanitation Code of the Philippines as enforced by the City Health Officer and under such laws, ordinances, rules and regulations applicable to them. We are aware of our need for poultry and livestock raising and their importance in feeding our population. But food is not the only thing that makes us alive. A clean and undefiled environment is also necessary for nourishing a healthy and productive citizenry. We can strike a balance between these two needs thru strategic collaboration between all stakeholders of the society. In unity, there is strength. Tarabang po kita!

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