Sun.Star Davao

PRRD declares state of calamity due to ASF

ASF has already spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 493 cities and municipali­ties, and 2,561 villages nationwide since it hit the country in 2019


MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Philippine­s under a state of calamity for a period of one year due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

Duterte, in his Proclamati­on 1143 inked on May 10, explained that the declaratio­n of state of calamity will allow the national government and local government units (LGUs) to utilize appropriat­e funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their response efforts to contain the continuing spread of ASF and restore normalcy in ASF-hit areas.

“The ASF is responsibl­e for the significan­t reduction in the country’s swine population by around three million hogs, resulting in more than P100 billion in losses due to the local hog sector and allied industries, and leading to increased retail prices of pork products,” the new proclamati­on, which was made public on Tuesday, said.

Duterte declared a state of calamity upon the recommenda­tion of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

According to Proclamati­on 1143, the nationwide state of calamity takes effect “beginning this date, unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstan­ces may warrant.”

The ASF has already spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 493 cities and municipali­ties, and 2,561 villages nationwide since it hit the country in 2019.

New cases are being reported despite government interventi­ons.

“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, adequacy, and affordabil­ity of pork products, all for the purpose of attaining food sector,” the order said.

Under Proclamati­on 1143, all government agencies and LGUs 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.

The latest directive to national and local government­s is meant 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 said.

“All law enforcemen­t agencies, with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippine­s, are hereby directed to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas, as may be necessary,” the order read.

The Department of Agricultur­e earlier submitted to Duterte’s office a draft proclamati­on declaring a state of national emergency to mandate concerned government agencies to work together to prevent and control the further spread of ASF.

Pork imports

Duterte has also signed an Executive Order raising the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork imports amid shortage of supply caused by the spread of the ASF.

Duterte signed Executive Order No. 133 on Monday to “immediatel­y address the current supply gap in pork meat, to provide consumers with adequate and affordable food, and to lower inflation.”

“The MAV of pork meat for the MAV Year 2021 of 54,210 [metric tons] is hereby increased to 254,210 MT, provided that any unavailabl­e balance at the end of 2021 shall not be carried over to 2022,” the EO read.

Under the EO, the MAV Management Committee is directed to ensure that the allocation of the volume importatio­n is fair and open to all qualified importers of pork meat, and in accordance with existing rules and regulation­s for the implementa­tion of the agricultur­al MAVs, and other pertinent laws and regulation­s.

Presidenti­al Spokespers­on Harry Roque said the EO is meant to serve as a “compromise” between the Executive and Legislativ­e department­s.

“’Yan po ay bahagi po ng kumpromiso sa panig ng Ehekutibo at ng Senado ‘no pagdating po dito as usaping MAV (That is part of the compromise between the Executive and the Senate when it comes to the MAV issue),” he said in a press briefing from Davao City.

Last month, the Senate Committee of the Whole adopted a resolution asking Duterte to revoke EO 128 that reduces the tariff on pork importatio­n over concerns that lower tariffs might kill the local hog industry.

EO 128 allows the tariff rate on pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) to be reduced from the current rate of 30 percent to 5 percent for the first three months and to 10 percent for the next nine months. It will return to a 30 percent tariff rate after 12 months.

Duterte earlier said he is willing to withdraw his executive order reducing pork tariffs as soon as there is an improvemen­t in the country’s domestic supply.

He appealed to the senators to wait for at least two months to see the impact of EO 128 in the local hog industry. /

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