President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 1143, declaring a state of calamity throughout the Philippines due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak was considered by the stakeholders in the agriculture sector a big break in combating the dreadful plague afflicting the hemorrhaging livestock industry.
Significantly, the SoC declaration provides the local government units (LGUs) the ability to set aside part of their Local Risk Reduction and Management fund or commonly known as calamity fund for a quick anti-ASF response like allocating an emergency outlay for the prevention, mitigation, preparedness, rehabilitation, and recovery from the ASF havoc in their respective areas.
It also gives the LGUs the opportunity to partner with the private sector to craft and implement their respective anti-ASF contingency plan.
Records showed that the ASF hit some parts of the country in August 2019. To date, it spread to 12 regions, 46 provinces, 502 cities and municipalities, and 2,652 barangays.
As early as March this year, the DA had already prodded for the declaration of the state of calamity vis-a-vis the ASF flare-up. Whether or not the government’s action was too late or not, no one would admit it.
Sad to say, over three million pigs have already perished en masse at the height of the ASF wave. As a result, consumers griped over the unprecedented increase in the price of pork due to shortage of hog supply in the market.
For most of the hog raisers, the state action may be deemed a little bit too late and not a total solution to the problem. Be that as it may, it is better to have one and none, at all.
In view of this, we still doff our hat to President Duterte for his unwavering support to the agriculture sector, particularly to our farmers, hog and poultry raisers, and fisherfolk. His signing of Proclamation 1143 came in the nick of time amid the COVID-19 economic crisis.
All we could do now is to hope and pray that the livestock industry will recover swiftly and bounce to normal. (IS)