Duterte declares state of calamity due to ASF outbreak

Citing billions of pesos worth of losses brought by the African swine fever (ASF) to the local hog industry and increased retail prices of pork products, President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the entire Philippines under a state of calamity, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Proclamation No. 1143 signed by Duterte on Monday, May 10, said that while the declaration is year-long, it could be lifted or extended as circumstances warrant.

“Such declaration will, among others afford the National Government, and Local Government Units (LGUs), ample latitude to utilize appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their response efforts to contain the continuing spread of the ASF and restore normalcy in ASF-affected areas,” the proclamation stated.

The ASF has spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 493 cities and municipalities and 2,571 barangays throughout the country. The proclamation noted that the ASF is responsible in the reduction of the swine population by around three million hogs.

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 to curtail the further spread of ASF, address the supply deficit in pork products, reduce retail prices, and jumpstart the rehabilitation of the local hog industry, it added.

The region of MIMAROPA where Palawan is included remains ASF free since the outbreak started in 2019.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said in a virtual presser that the department is having a meeting in connection to the proclamation which details will be released within the day.

“Pag-uusapan natin dahil itong proclamation na ito ay malaking bahagi ang ilalaan ng local government units na talagang pagbubuhusan ng pondo ng kanilang quick response funds. Malaking bagay ito, hindi lang ang national agency, ang DA ang gagastos kung hindi ang local government with this declaration of (state of) calamity,” he said.

Provincial agriculturist Dr. Romeo Cabungcal said that the declaration of the state of calamity due to ASF has no implication to ASF-free areas like Palawan.

“I think wala kasi ASF free tayo, ang benefit (ay) we can expand our production areas,” he said in a text message.

He previously stated that being free from ASF is an advantage for the province to expand hog repopulation and encourage local growers to go back to hog raising in Palawan.

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