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.
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. /