Duterte declares state of calamity due to African Swine Fever outbreak

Published May 11, 2021, 12:25 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has placed the entire country under a state of calamity due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, that led to the billions of pesos in losses to the local hog industry and the spike in prices of pork products.

President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/Malacañang)

In Proclamation No.1143, the calamity declaration mobilizes government funds and resources to contain the spread of the deadly ASF, revive the hog industry, and ensure stable supply and cost of products. It will be in effect for a year unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.

The latest proclamation was signed by the President on May 10, 2021 upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

“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, adequate and affordability of pork products, all for the purpose of attaining food security,” the proclamation read.

The calamity declaration would “afford the national government and local governments ample latitude to utilize appropriate funds, including the quick response fund, in their response efforts to contain the continuing spread of the ASF and restore normalcy in ASF-affected areas.”

Under the proclamation, the President directed government agencies and local government units to assist, cooperate, and mobilize resources to take “critical, urgent, and appropriate measures in a timely manner” to curb the ASF spread.

The concerned agencies must also address the supply deficit in pork products, reduce retail prices, and jumpstart the rehabilitation of the local hog industry.

Law enforcement agencies with the support of the military have also been directed to take measures “to ensure peace and order in affected areas, as may be necessary.”

The proclamation noted that the ASF was responsible for the reduction in the county’s swine population by three million since it was first reported in 2019. This resulted in “more than P100 billion in losses to the local hog sector and allied industries” and the increased prices in pork products.

The disease has so far spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 493 cities and municipalities and 2,571 barangays in the country. New cases are still being reported despite the interventions made by the government, it added.