MANILA – A “nationwide approach” is necessary to stem the spread of African swine flu (ASF) in the country, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement a day after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of calamity throughout the Philippines for one year due to the ASF outbreak.
While Luzon is considered the most severely affected by ASF, Roque said it is necessary for Visayas and Mindanao to also be placed under a state of calamity since they supply Luzon with hogs and frozen pork meant to eventually bring down prices.
“Kinakailangan po entire nation approach iyan kasi habang tayo ay nagri-repopulate ay kinakailangan, iyong mga pupuwede na nating paratingin sa Maynila na mga ASF-free na mga inahin ay ma-facilitate din no (An entire nation approach is needed because while we are repopulating, it is necessary that the transport of ASF-free sows to Manila will also be facilitated),” he said in an interview over Radyo Pilipinas.
He emphasized the need for a nationwide approach since there is a dwindling supply of pork in Luzon.
“Kinakailangan po lahat ay magtulungan hindi lang po iyong mga nasalanta dito sa Luzon (Everyone needs to work together, not just those affected here in Luzon),” he added.
Through Proclamation 1143 inked on May 10, Duterte explained that the declaration of a 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 PHP100 billion in losses due to the local hog sector and allied industries, and leading to increased retail prices of pork products,” the new proclamation read.
According to Roque, the Quick Response Fund in the declaration will do away with delays in providing assistance to areas ASF-stricken areas.
“Kapag walang ganiyang deklarasyon, mabusisi po ang paggastos ng public fund at matatatagalan po ang paggastos niyan (Without such a declaration, the spending of public funds will be scrutinized and that spending will be delayed),” he added.
Duterte declared a state of calamity upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The ASF outbreak has already spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 493 cities and municipalities, and 2,561 villages nationwide since it hit the country in 2019. (PNA)