Chicken vendors bear brunt of bird flu scare

Erica Domingo

Posted at Aug 16 2017 09:05 AM | Updated as of Nov 07 2017 11:14 AM

Sales are slacking off for chicken vendors at a public market in Quezon City days after news of the first bird flu outbreak in the country came out.

"Malaki. Malaki talaga itinumal. Dati nakakabenta kami ng 50 pieces, ngayon 20. Hindi pa nauubos,” said Gloria Maravilla, 45, poultry vendor at Muñoz Market in Project 8, Quezon City. 

Maravilla, whose husband helps her in their poultry business, shared that before news of the bird flu outbreak, prices of chicken stayed at 130 pesos per kilo. Now even at 120 pesos a kilo, very few people buy her goods.

Another poultry vendor, Lisa, said she used to sell up to 30 pieces of chicken before noon every day. “Now we sell 15 chickens and that’s for the whole day,” she said. 

Maravilla said she had to switch suppliers because of the bird flu scare, sourcing products from Magnolia instead of a poultry farm in Bulacan. 

“Yun lang ang hanap buhay. Ilang araw na, mag-a-one week na kaming matumal. Ngayon wala talaga, abono. Kasi di naman pwedeng di magtitinda kasi may bayad sa pwesto. Kahit wala kaming tinda, may bayad pa din,” she said. 

(That’s our only source of livelihood. It’s been days, a week that we’ve had low sales. Today, there’s nothing. We have to shell out. We can’t stop selling because we pay for our spot. Even if we don’t sell anything, we still have to pay.)

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the government is still investigating the origin of the outbreak.

One vendor, Karen, said her usual buyers always ask if her chicken supply is affected by bird flu. 

"Siyempre ayaw na kumain ng tao. Ayaw nang bumibili, matumal. Siyempre nagtatanong kung may sakit,” said Karen, a poultry vendor at Muñoz Market.

 “Halos wala (nang kita). Lalong di makakabayad sa pinagkakautangan,” she added. 

Maravilla said she looks forward to the day when the government declares that Luzon is free of bird flu. 

“Malungkot dahil dito lang kami kumukuha ng pangsuporta sa gastos namin araw-araw, sa eskwela. Kaya sana pagka okay na, mabalita rin na pwede na yung manok na kainin,” she said. Erica Charisse Domingo