PH placed under state of calamity due to ASF outbreak

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

May 11, 2021, 2:01 pm

<p>File photo</p>

File photo

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Philippines under a state of calamity for a period of one year due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

Duterte, in his Proclamation 1143 inked on May 10, explained that the declaration of state of calamity will allow the national government and local government units (LGUs) to utilize appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their response efforts to contain the continuing spread of ASF and restore normalcy in ASF-hit areas.

“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 new proclamation, which was made public on Tuesday, said.

Duterte declared a state of calamity upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

According to Proclamation 1143, the nationwide state of calamity takes effect “beginning this date, unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.”

The ASF has already spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 493 cities and municipalities, and 2,561 villages nationwide since it hit the country in 2019.

New cases are being reported despite government interventions.

“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.

Under Proclamation 1143, 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.

The latest directive to national and local governments is meant 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, the proclamation said.

“All law enforcement agencies, with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are hereby directed to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas, as may be necessary,” the order read.

The Department of Agriculture earlier submitted to Duterte’s office a draft proclamation declaring a state of national emergency to mandate concerned government agencies to work together to prevent and control the further spread of ASF. (PNA)