President Duterte has yet to decide on recommendations that he announce a national state of emergency because of the spread of African swine flu (ASF) that has impacted the supply and the price of pork products in the market.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a virtual presser on Thursday, March 11, that the Palace welcomes the suggestion from Congress.
“Well, the President always considers naman po (ang) mga suggestions ng ating policy-makers (the suggestions of our policymakers),” he said, adding that the plan right now is to repopulate and vaccinate the pigs and import pork from other areas.
“But, point well taken, we welcome the suggestion. It will be considered but it has not been decided upon by the President.”
Earlier, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, headed by Senator Cynthia Villar, recommended that the Chief Executive declare a state of emergency because the ASF devastated the hog industry, particularly in Luzon.
The committee agreed to the recommendation to curb the current pork shortage, which earlier prompted Duterte to impose a price ceiling.
Duterte had previously set a 60-day freeze on the prices of pork and chicken, but this has been met with ire by local producers.
Executive Order No. 124, which Duterte signed on February 1, set the price ceilings to P270 per kilo for kasim and pigue, P300 per kilo for liempo, and P160 per kilo for dressed chicken.
Before the price ceiling, prices of pork went up to almost 450 pesos per kilo.
However, Roque said that the government has already allotted a budget for the repopulation of hogs, as well as the vaccine that will protect these hogs from the ASF.
The Palace official also cited the plan to import pork from other parts of the country, as well as from other countries.