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Sen. Cynthia Villar Sponsorship Speech on Committee Report No. 271 (SB 2044; HB 7660)

PHILIPPINES, January 18 - Press Release January 17, 2022

Sen. Cynthia Villar Sponsorship Speech on Committee Report No. 271 (SB 2044; HB 7660)

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, good afternoon.

It is my honor as Chairman of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform to present for approval Committee Report No. 271 on Senate Bill No. 2044 and taking into consideration H.B No. 7660), entitled, "An Act Declaring the Municipality of San Jose in the Province of Batangas, as the Egg Basket Capital of the Philippines."

San Jose, Batangas, a first-class municipality in the province of Batangas, with a land area of 53.29 square kilometer, or approximately 1.71% of Batangas's total area, and has the highest egg production of at least 70,000 MT of eggs a year. In 2019, the Municipality contributed twelve percent (12%) to the country's egg basket and is also fifty percent (50%) to the total Batangas Province output or 40 percent of the whole of CALABARZON egg produce.

The per capita egg consumption in the country is as of 2020 approximately 13.74 kilograms a year or 229 pcs. Eggs top the most consumed protein-rich foods in the Philippines, and based of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the DOST, egg is a cheap source of good quality protein and other nutrients such as fat, Vitamins A, D, E, B and iron.

From starting as a backyard industry back in the 60s, San Jose Batangas took the lead and turned it into one of the most successful, if not the most successful industry, with the farmers evolving into agripreneurs, and who continuously help innovate the agricultural practices in this small town. With the exception of Region 4A as a whole, and the province of Batangas as a whole, San Jose, Batangas takes the forefront as the leading egg producer in the country.

Egg farmers of San Jose did not even let the bird flu infestation in 2009 rattle their industry. Through the leadership of Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative (BEPCO), new products like liquid and frozen eggs were developed to address oversupply of eggs. Also, in 2017, BEPCO together with the University of the Philippines-Diliman, the Department of Science and Technology under the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy Program (CRADLE), developed other egg products like egg white powder which is ideal for baking cakes and breads, and can also be used in making mayonnaise and meringue. At present, there is an ongoing partnership between BEPCO and DA for the establishment of an automated composting facility in San Jose that would transform chicken manure to acceptable organic fertilizers. This innovation provides for a sustainable solution for the waste management of layer farms and shall also contribute in addressing biosecurity concerns.

Through the concerted efforts of the egg farmers of San Jose, Batangas, their egg industry continues to be their source of increased income, which also generates thousands of direct and indirect jobs for many. As of 2020, there are over 342 registered independent poultry in the municipality, with a declared layers population of 12,543,066.

I wish to celebrate the hard work and perseverance of the egg farmers in San Jose Batangas, who constantly evolve and improve on their technology. Our experience this pandemic further highlights the need for our country to achieve food security. Our farmers and livestock growers toiled these last few months to ensure that the people have sufficient food to eat. To recognize the hardship and efforts of our egg raisers from San Jose, and for them to serve as inspiration to more farmers in the country, I call on my colleagues to support this measure.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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