The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) directed the local government units (LGUs) on Sunday to align their executive orders (EO) pertaining to the ban on the entry of hogs and other related products with the policies of the national government to prevent the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) but at same time ensure the food security of their respective areas.
In DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2021-00 signed by DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Bernardo Florece, Jr., the LGUs are urged to conduct an immediate review of their executive orders and align their objectives immediately with presidential and national issuance on the prevention and control of ASF.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that the department reminded the localities to issue the EOs that restrict or limit the entry of pigs, hogs and related items to protect against the spread of ASF without impeding the flow of cargoes across LGU boundaries.
“Although the conscientious efforts of LGUs to mitigate the spread of the ASF in their respective jurisdictions are needed, they still have to ensure that their local policies and directive are aligned and consistent with those of the national government,” Malaya said.
He said that the actions of LGUs must be coordinated with the Department of Agriculture (DA) field offices for consistency with the ASF zoning classification system.
Florece stressed the LGUs must strictly follow the nationwide policy on the unhampered flow of cargoes stipulated in Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) Resolution No. 14 and Presidential Administrative Order No. 22, series of 2020 to mitigate the ASF in the country amid the pandemic.
Section C of IATF-EID Resolution No. 14 provides for unimpeded movement of all types of food and non-food cargo during the Enhanced Community Quarantine to avoid any threat of shortages of food staples, subject to the presentation of relevant documents.
On the other hand, Presidential Administrative Order No. 22, series of 2020 directs all government agencies and LGUs to strictly implement and comply with the Department of Agriculture’s ASF National Zoning and Movement Plan which has classified the country into various zones with respective movement controls.
Under the DA’s zoning plan, there are two ASF zone classifications namely, Containment Zone where concerted activities are implemented to contain ASF and isolate the ASF disease towards full eradication, and Free Zone (Dark Green) which is the geographical limit that remains free from the ASF virus.
Included in the Containment Zone are the Infected Zone (red) which comprise the provinces with confirmed ASF cases; Surveillance Zone (yellow) which includes provinces that are high-risk areas because of the dense population of swine and volume of trade of pigs, pork, and pork products; Buffer Zone (pink) which includes cities/municipalities of the National Capital Region (NCR) and those which are adjacent to the infected zones, as well as ASF-free localities in an infected province; and Protected Zone (light green) which includes regions/provinces with no ASF cases but are contiguous with the yellow zone in terms of landmass.
The zone classification status is regularly reviewed and updated depending on the epidemiological changes of the disease.
While LGUs have the power to issue orders within their jurisdiction, Florece emphasized that these must always be consistent with national policies and directives.
He warned the LGUs to comply with the memorandum circular to avoid being issued with show cause orders (SCOs) or being reprimanded as their repeated defiance to the directive will lead to the filing of charges against their local chief executives (LCEs).