By Teddy Cambosa

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Philippines supports the decision of the national government to declare the country under a state of calamity due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in the country. 

Image/pexels via pixabay

The proclamation was signed last May 10, 2021, under Proclamation No. 1143 by President Rodrigo Duterte.

According to DA secretary William Dar, they consider the signed proclamation as like the much-needed solution to allow local government units (LGUs) to set aside part of their Local Risk Reduction and Management Fund or commonly known as calamity fund for quick response purposes, and to allocate for the prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, rehabilitation and recovery that may be brought by the ASF incidence in their respective areas.

“The Proclamation will also enable us to partner with the LGUs — from the provincial, city, municipal and barangays — and hog raisers’ groups and the private sector to craft and implement their respective ASF contingency plan, anchored on strong and sustained biosecurity, surveillance, monitoring and protection measures, covering both ASF-affected and ASF-free areas,” the DA chief added. 

The DA has requested the declaration of the state of calamity in March this year, which was duly supported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chaired by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana through NDRRMC resolution passed on April 20, 2021.  

For his part, DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Reildrin Morales said since the ASF was reported in August 2019, the disease has to date spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 502 cities and municipalities, and 2,652 barangays. 

As a result, Secretary Dar said “over three million pigs have been lost, causing a contraction in pork supply and an unprecedented increase in the price of pork.” 

Under Proclamation 1143, the country will remain under the state of calamity for one year, unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.

Teddy Cambosa is a graduating BS Biology student and a former campus journalist at Batangas State University.