The Department of Agriculture (DA) favorably welcomes the signing by President Rodrigo Duterte of Proclamation No. 1143 declaring a state of calamity throughout the Philippines due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.
“We consider the Presidential Proclamation No. 1143 as the much-needed ‘shot-in-the-arm’ as it will allow local government units (LGUs) to set aside part of their Local Risk Reduction and Management Fund or commonly known as calamity fund for quick response purposes, and to allocate for the prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, rehabilitation and recovery that may be brought by the ASF incidence in their respective areas,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
“The Proclamation will also enable us to partner with the LGUs.”
“The Proclamation will also enable us to partner with the LGUs — from the provincial, city, municipal and barangays — and hog raisers’ groups and the private sector to craft and implement their respective ASF contingency plan, anchored on strong and sustained biosecurity, surveillance, monitoring and protection measures, covering both ASF-affected and ASF-free areas,” Dar added.
As per Proclamation 1143, the country will remain under the state of calamity for one year, unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.
“We believe this will give swine industry stakeholders enough time to build defenses for areas that remain unaffected by what is termed as the COVID -19 of the hog sector,’” the agriculture chief said.
The DA has requested the declaration of the state of calamity in March this year, which was duly supported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chaired by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana through NDRRMC resolution passed on April 20, 2021.
For his part, DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Reildrin Morales said since the ASF was reported in August 2019, the disease has to date spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 502 cities and municipalities, and 2,652 barangays.
As a result, the agriculture head said “over three million pigs have been lost, causing a contraction in pork supply and an unprecedented increase in the price of pork”.
With Proclamation 1143, the LGUs can provide substantial resources for ASF control and prevention, through strict implementation of biosecurity measures, said Morales.
He added that the DA-BAI will work closely with LGUs to ensure that their ASF contingency and action plans are aligned and consistent with the overall plan of the national government.
Further, the LGUs can fund other ASF-related activities like:
- Provision of PPEs and needed equipment for quarantine and checkpoint personnel;
- Establishment and maintenance of ASF biosecurity checkpoints;
- Implementation of ASF information campaign in partnership with the DA-BAI, hog raisers’ groups and the private sector; and
- Procurement of test kits, biologics and other needed equipment and materials; and
- Strengthening of diagnostic capability to support early warning system, surveillance and monitoring.
“We thank President Duterte for his strong, unwavering support to the agriculture sector, and to our Filipino food security frontliners.”
“In all, we thank President Duterte for his strong, unwavering support to the agriculture sector, and to our Filipino food security frontliners — farmers, hog and poultry raisers, and fisherfolk,” Dar said.
“The signing of Proclamation 1143 is a fitting gift for them, as we observe this May, the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month,” he concluded.