Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año is urging all local government units (LGUs) to tighten up their efforts in preventing and controlling the African swine fever (ASF) virus in their localities toward its complete eradication.
He said that the DILG, together with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), are strictly monitoring compliance of LGUs to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Administrative Order (AO) No. 22 issued on February 5, 2020 ordering LGUs to strictly implement the National Zoning and Movement Plan for the prevention and control of ASF as contained under DA Administrative Circular No. 12, series of 2019.
“This is an urgent matter that should be prioritized by LGUs to save lives and save livelihood. Sa panahong ganito, lalong dapat paigtingin ang kooperasyon ng LGUs at ng nasyunal na pamahalaan,” he said on Friday.
“Tungkulin ng LGUs na siguruhin ang kaligtasan ng publiko sa food-borne illnesses. Ang LGUs ang namamahala sa meat inspection at meat transport na naaayon sa quality at safety standards ng DA,” he said.
Año urges LGUs to follow the priority areas for action prescribed by the DA including the development and strengthening of their respective ASF Prevention and Control Plans; conducting proper public awareness on ASF; surveillance; and border control and movement management.
LGUs must also provide operational and logistic support to local veterinary offices; give alternative livelihood for affected farmers; and update their swine inventories.
As of February 9, 2020, the DA reports that there are 569 barangays in the country with the occurrence of the ASF virus.
87 municipalities or cities are in Region III (in the Provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Tarlac, and Bataan); 13 are in Region IV-A (in the Provinces of Rizal and Cavite); 7 in Region I (in the Province of Pangasinan); four in Metro Manila; four in Region XI (in the Provinces of Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur); four in Cordillera Administrative Region (in the Provinces of Benguet and Kalinga); and one in Region XII (in the Province of South Cotabato). In total, 120 municipalities or cities are affected in 14 provinces.
Commendable actions by LCEs
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya encourages local governments to replicate actions of some LGUs commended by the DA for their measures to prevent the spread of the ASF virus.
For instance, Mapandan, Pangasinan provided P1,000 per head of culled pig totalling to the provision of P163,000. Traders who violated shipping protocol and brought infected animals were made to pay P3,000 per head of culled pig.
The Municipality of Bayambang, also in Pangasinan, provided two cavans of rice per head of culled pig. The Municipal LGU has already given 2,028 cavans.
The Pampanga Provincial Government has provided P1.3-million counterpart for indemnification of culled pigs, including logistics such as heavy equipment like backhoe and dump trucks for culling operations.
“Protecting public health is of utmost importance that calls for proactivity and a sense of urgency among LGUs. Doing this duty has to be tempered with giving incentives to affected sectors like hog raisers in order to be more effective and to get people’s cooperation,” Malaya said.
He said that affected farmers may avail of the national government’s support including the DA’s free laboratory testing for ASF and indemnification fund of P5,000 per farmer.
The DA reported that P800-million out of P1-billion President’s Contingent Fund for indemnification and operations has been released.
The DA said that the ASF, despite having no known effect to humans, is a severe and highly contagious viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs, with a case-fatality rate approaching 100 percent, caused by a resistant virus with no developed cure to date.
The ASF is estimated to have affected more than 20 million pigs in Asia since 2018 and has caused serious economic and production losses in affected countries.