BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Negros Occidental Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Renante Decena, said yesterday that the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Philippines under a state of calamity for one year due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak will hasten the rehabilitation of the swine industry.
Duterte, in Proclamation 1143 signed on May 10, said the declaration of a state of calamity will allow the national government and local government units to utilize appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, for 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 to the local hog sector and allied industries, and leading to increased retail prices of pork products,” the proclamation that was made public yesterday stated.
The declaration was made upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
CALAMITY STATE IN EFFECT
Proclamation 1143 states that 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 barangays nationwide, since it hit the country in 2019, and new cases are being reported despite government interventions.
Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, remains ASF-free.
“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 (sic) food sector,” the proclamation said.
It added that all government agencies and LGUs are enjoined to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other, and mobilize necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate measures in a timely manner.
It 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, it added.
Meanwhile, pork is now sold at P231 per kilo in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, from P230 last week, or an increase of P1 due to demand, Decena said.
Aside from pork, Decena said the PVO also noted an increase of at least 30 centavos in the prices of beef that now costs P280.55 per kilo from P280.26.
The prices of carabao beef, chevron/goat meat, broiled and native dressed chicken, meanwhile, remained at P268, P338, P181, and P253 per kilo, respectively, he said. PVO records also showed that small eggs are sold at P6.54 per piece, medium eggs – P7.27, large eggs – P7.95, extra – large P8.57, and salted eggs – P12.91.*with report from PNA