EXTRA funds may now be accessed to help hog raisers recover from the African swine fever (ASF), Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said on Tuesday as he welcomes the declaration of a nationwide State of Calamity.
“Matagal natin isinusulong ang hiling ng industriya at mabuti naman na sa wakas ay may deklarasyon na. Malaking tulong ang dagdag na pondo na magiging tulong pinansyal o indemnification sa mga magbababoy na halos naubos na ang alaga at dagdag na pondo rin sa pagpapalawig ng biosafety protocols nang masugpo ang pagkalat ng ASF,” Pangilinan said.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1143 yesterday, May 10. It was announced today, May 11.
It declares a nationwide State of Calamity that urges all government agencies and local government units to mobilize necessary resources to contain and prevent the spread of ASF, with the validity of one year unless otherwise earlier lifted.
“Unless earlier withdrawn, my understanding is one year should be sufficient. For the first year, we hope. Dahil diyan naman talaga ang kritikal yung repopulation ng hog, yung mga baboy. Dapat mabilis kumilos, mabilis makabawi ang sektor ng magbababoy, makabangon muli,” Pangilinan said.
The former Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agriculture Modernization cited the case of the coconut infestation dubbed cocolisap in 2014 when the government was able to contain the infestation within six months of the State of Calamity declaration.
Pangilinan filed a Senate resolution urging the Department of Agriculture (DA) to recommend to the President the declaration of a State of Calamity due to the ASF in early March. It was adopted by the Senate on March 15.
“Ito ay mahalaga para madagdagan ang suporta at alalay ng gobyerno para masugpo ang ASF. Dahil sa ngayon, ang pinakamalaking danyos ay ramdam ng private sector, ng ating mga mambababoy. Government will now step in with additional funding. Magagamit din yung Quick Response Fund ng DA,” Pangilinan said.
DA said some additional 6-billion-peso budget is needed for their ASF response, with only 2.6 billion pesos currently available for their ASF response.
“‘Yung declaration ay legal basis para makapag-release ng calamity funds ang national government. At kung wala itong state of calamity declaration, walang basehan para maglabas ng dagdag na pondo from the calamity fund of the national government. Wala ring basehan ang mga LGUs para maglabas ng pondo ng kanilang calamity find sa lokal para tugunan itong problema ng Afican swine fever sa kani-kanilang mga munisipyo at bayan,” Pangilinan said.
Local hog industry has long supported the declaration of State of Calamity saying that they need the funds to quickly recover and repopulate.
According to Proclamation No. 1143, some 3 million hogs and 100 billion pesos have already been lost to the hog industry due to ASF.