PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire country under a state of calamity for one year due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak, allowing the government to tap its quick response fund.
Proclamation No. 1143, which Duterte signed on May 10, 2021, noted that the ASF has spread to 2,571 barangays, 493 cities and towns, 46 provinces and 12 regions since it was first detected in 2019.
The country has lost about three million hogs, translating to losses of more than P100 billion for the local hog sector and allied industries, and an increase in prices of pork products.
The proclamation cited an urgent need to address the continued spread of ASF and its adverse impact to jumpstart rehabilitation of the hog industry, and ensure the availability, adequacy and affordability of pork in the market.
In his official Facebook page, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte also signed Executive Order 133, which increases the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork imports this year.
With this, pork imports are expected to increase from 54,210 metric tons to 254,210 metric tons.
The higher import quotas for pork products in the country are meant to ensure sufficient and affordable food supply.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 said Cebu will not be affected.
DA 7 Director Salvador Diputado said the target of the declaration was Luzon and some parts of Mindanao because of the severe effect of ASF on the hog supply there.
Since Region 7 is ASF-free, all efforts will be geared toward hog repopulation and the improvement of biosecurity measures.
“Eighty-five percent of the Central Visayas hog supply comes from the backyard hog farmers. If before, there was only minimal sanitation, now we are urging them to upgrade their biosecurity measures in the face of the ASF threat,” he said.
Diputado said the department is waiting for the approval of the P76 billion budget from the proposed Bayanihan 3 measure.
He said Region 7 will get a part of the budget aimed at training backyard hog farmers for modern biosecurity measures, funding for capital of state-of-the-art equipment for biosecurity, linkage between consolidators and hog farmers for ready markets and cold storage as well as the establishment of a Double AA slaughterhouse in an area with a big volume of hogs.
The DA 7 has yet to identify the areas for these proposals.
Paul Holaysan, president of the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative, said he hoped the declaration would give more funds for the ASF prevention to hog farmers.
The state of calamity will last a year beginning on May 17, unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant. (TPM / JKV / JOB)