CABANATUAN CITY – The head of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) won’t commit suicide.
Instead, PCC executive director Dr. Arnel del Barrio saw in Sen. Cynthia Villar’s point in her “unkind” remarks at Tuesday’s online hearing on his agency’s budget.
Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture, said: “If I were the head of the (PCC), and my performance is this, I would have committed suicide.”
“Siguro may ibig sabihin si Ma’am talaga,” Del Barrio said in a telephone interview on Tuesday, adding that Villar has been “very supportive” in the agency’s dairy program.
“Yung sinabi ni Ma’am is a wake–up call to us,” he said, and as head of an ISO-certified agency, he is open to feedback.
Villar slammed the PCC for producing only about one percent of the country’s dairy that causes unavailability of affordable milk to the poor.
Del Barrio stressed though that PCC has been performing near a hundred percent in accomplishments for its regular program, clarifying: “Particular project po na funded by Sen. Villar, yun yung pinag-uusapan natin. May delay po talaga dun.”
The PCC head said that as feedback, Villar’s statement pushes them to “plan, do, check, and act.”
“Kung tatanggapin mo yung feedback as a negative word then tumalon ka na nga. Pero hindi naman ganun yung aking naramdaman tini-take ko siya as a positive feedback,” he said.
The official maintained they have been doing everything “to the best of our abilities” but encountered some limitations due to coronavirus disease pandemic.
For instance, he said, under the program funded by Villar, the agency has to procure some 900 carabaos but had delivered only 541 at the moment.
“Yung mamimili ng kalabaw throughout the Philippines ay hindi makaikot sa mga barangay, sa mga barrio para makabili ng kalabaw,” he explained.
In terms of equipment, winning bidders from Cebu cannot construct and deliver due to quarantine restrictions, he said.
Del Barrio agreed with Villar that they need correct technology, food and breed to further improve dairy production. The PCC, he said, goes along that line.
He observed that aside from the huge difference in population of animals between India and the Philippines, Filipinos have different value towards carabaos.
He cited India being a huge country with over 100 million heads of buffaloes compared to the Philippines with only about 2.8 million.
Indians are inclined to use animals for dairy production while Filipinos use them for work and meat, with about 400,000 carabaos extracted for meat every year in the country.
“So paggising ng Indians ay may dairy breed na. Paggising natin, ang nakagisnan natin ay pang-trabahong kalabaw. Yan ang dinala ng mga Chinese sa atin e,” he said.
“Nung nagkaroon ng PCC, nagkaroon ng change ng breed. Kasi nag-introduce tayo ng mga dairy breed,” Del Barrio claimed.
He said the PCC and the National Dairy Authority (NDA), that was also present during the hearing, have in their pipeline a combined loan-funded P1.5-billion dairy program.
Of the amount, P512 million is allotted for PCCs animal procurement (imported and locally sourced), feeds and facilities and the rest for NDA’s dairy cattle and dairy goat development, and establishments of processing plants, among others.
To further illustrate Villar’s suppprt to PCC, Del Barrio said the senator put up in 2015 an additional P185million for the creation of program models in 17 sites in 16 provinces.