NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Agriculture Secretary William Dar has proposed a declaration of a national emergency to prevent the further spread of African swine fever (ASF). Dar, in his letter dated March 17, 2021, reported to President Rodrigo Duterte that the ASF has heavily burdened the hog industry and consumers. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar has drafted a proclamation for President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a state of national emergency to prevent the further spread of African swine fever (ASF).

Through the President's declaration, biosecurity measures in the hog industry would be upgraded nationwide. It would also jumpstart the rehabilitation of the swine industry, as well as appropriate funds.

"(The) ASF is a severe and fatal disease of domestic and wild pigs that is currently decimating the local hog industry of the country. The disease has already spread to 12 regions, 40 provinces, 466 cities and municipalities, and 2,425 barangays to date," Dar said in a memorandum shared to reporters on Thursday.

“Over three million heads of pig have been lost due to the disease, causing a contraction in pork supply and an unprecedented increase in the price of basic agricultural commodities,” the memorandum added.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform also passed a Resolution on March 9, 2021, urging the DA to recommend a declaration of a state of emergency nationwide due to the effects of ASF.

On Wednesday, the DA and the Land Bank of the Philippines launched the PHP15-billion lending program for commercial hog raisers affected by ASF.

On the same day, lending corporation Univet Nutrition and Animal Healthcare Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the DA to jointly undertake a twin program to effectively control, manage, and contain ASF and revive the country’s hog industry.

These activities will be implemented along with the Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF) and the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion programs of the DA. (PNA)