Duterte to LGUs: Strictly enforce ASF zoning plan

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DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte directs all local government units and national government agencies to strictly enforce the National African Swine Fever (ASF) zoning plan, movement guidelines crafted by the Department of Agriculture.

The Agriculture (DA) came up with a plan amidst the ASF virus, to effectively manage, control and contain the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Duterte met with more than 1,500 local chief executives (LCEs), February 10, 2020, at SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, where they were briefed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque on the current status and preventive measures on the 2019 new Coronavirus; and by Agriculture Secretary William Dar on ASF zoning plan, biosecurity, and quarantine measures.

Duterte recently signed Administrative Order No. 22 directing all LGUs and NGAs to harmonize efforts with the DA to effectively control the spread of ASF in the country.

“The national ASF zoning plan and guidelines classify the country into various zones with respective movement protocols,” said Secretary Dar during the Presidential Meeting with LCEs, initiated by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), led by Secretary Eduardo Ano.

“We call on the cooperation of provincial, city and municipal LCEs to strictly adhere and align their local issuances with the DA ASF zoning plan and guidelines so that we can effectively control the spread of the disease,” Dar said.

Sharing the latest updates on the ASF, Dar said, the DA in partnership with concerned LGUs have to date depopulated a total of 216,000 heads of hogs since the disease surfaced last year.

“This is only 1.7 percent of the 12.7 million national swine population. About 13 percent of the 216,000 were actually ASF-infected, but due to the 1-7-10 protocol, we had to cull all hogs within the one-kilometer radius,” Dar said.

In executing the ASF zoning plan and guidelines, he cited three specific measures to control the spread of ASF: public awareness, surveillance, and border control and movement management. “On public awareness, we must ensure that meat dealers and vendors comply with the slaughter requirement. We urge the public not to bring pork and pork products from infected areas to free areas. Please comply with the restrictions imposed at airports, seaports, and bus terminals in bringing pork and pork products,” the Agri chief said.

“We are requiring all veterinary and agriculture officers to provide us with regular reports on ASF surveillance, and coordinate with the respective DA-Regional Field Offices in case of unusual diseases and deaths of pigs, and other livestock and poultry animals,” he said.

“We are also seeking the assistance of the Philippine National Police and barangay leaders to help us in securing quarantine checkpoints at provincial, city and municipal borders,” the DA chief added.

He also enjoined all LGUs, national and local agencies, the private sector and hog raisers to apply the “whole of the nation approach” to support and complement the attendant activities to manage, contain and control ASF. “We are intensifying all our efforts, and putting in mind that we can effectively control ASF and we will regain freedom from this disease,” Dar concluded.

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