Duterte proclaims country under state of calamity due to ASF

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of emergency for the entire country due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, allowing the government to draw on its quick response fund.

The ASF outbreak has cost the country approximately three million hogs, resulting in losses of more than P100 billion for the local hog sector and related industries, as well as an increase in pork product prices.

According to Proclamation No. 1143, which Duterte signed on May 10, 2021, the ASF has spread to 2,571 barangays, 493 cities and towns, 46 provinces, and 12 regions since it was first detected in 2019.

The proclamation stated that there is an urgent need to address the continued spread of ASF and its negative impact in order to jumpstart the rehabilitation of the hog industry and ensure the availability, adequacy, and affordability of pork in the market.

“All government agencies and LGUs (local government units) are enjoined to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other, and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent and appropriate measures in a timely manner to curtail the further spread of ASF, address the supply deficit in pork products, reduce retail prices, and jumpstart the rehabilitation of the local hog industry,” the proclamation cited.

When African Swine Fever (ASF) cases were confirmed in the country’s top two swine-producing regions, even disease-free regions felt the impact, as more than 60 local governments prohibited the entry of shipments of pork and by-products from Luzon.

Despite government efforts to demonstrate that pork from non-ASF areas is safe for human consumption, the ASF scare has persisted. Pork demand has declined. Farm gate prices dropped as well. However, the price of pork in supermarkets remained high. Other types of meat’s prices have also risen.

ASF is a fatal disease that affects pigs and wild boars. Symptoms include skin hemorrhage, a lack of appetite, and weakness.

The Philippines had a total swine inventory of 12.7 million heads as of July 1, 2019, prior to the ASF outbreak. The majority, or 8.02 million heads, came from backyard raisers, with the remaining 4.68 million heads coming from commercial farms.

As soon as the outbreak was confirmed, local governments outside the affected areas implemented strict quarantine measures to protect their respective swine industries.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines were also tasked with assisting law enforcement agencies in maintaining peace and order in affected areas.

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