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State of calamity declaration to boost fight vs. ASF outbreak

Dr. Renante Decena photo

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of calamity throughout the Philippines for a year starting Monday, May 10, following the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

The president, in Proclamation 1143 inked Monday, said this will allow the national government and local government units to utilize appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their efforts to contain the continuing spread of ASF and restore normalcy in ASF-hit areas.

Negros Occidental Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said this is a welcome development so affected LGUs could access their calamity funds to help in their response in stopping the dreaded disease.

“The national government can now focus on stopping the outbreak, stabilizing the prices, and repopulating the hogs,” he said.

He noted earlier that the policies of the national government and the LGUs are not harmonized, which posed a challenge in the campaign against ASF.

With the declaration of the state of calamity, Decena said he is hoping that the policies will be harmonized to make the campaign more effective.

He said that 3 million pigs died nationwide due to ASF, which also caused inflation to suffer due to higher pork prices.

Negros Occidental remains ASF free.

“The ASF is responsible for the significant reduction in the country’s swine population by around three million hogs, resulting in more than PHP100 billion in losses due to the local hog sector and allied industries, and leading to increased retail prices of pork products,” the president said in Proclamation 1143.

In the order, all government agencies and LGUs are enjoined to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other, and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent and appropriate measures in a timely manner.

“There is an urgent need to address the continued spread of ASF and its adverse impacts, to jumpstart the rehabilitation of the local hog industry, and to ensure the availability, adequacy, and affordability of pork products, all for the purpose of attaining food sector,” the order said.

The nationwide state of calamity took effect Monday.

The ASF has affected 12 regions including 46 provinces and 493 localities since it hit the country in 2019.

“There is an urgent need to address the continued spread of ASF and its adverse impacts, to jumpstart the rehabilitation of the local hog industry, and to ensure the availability, adequacy, and affordability of pork products, all for the purpose of attaining food sector,” the order said.*

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