To effectively manage, control, and contain the threat of African Swine Fever (ASF), the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) said it will spend the P78-million emergency fund – approved by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Cabinet during last week’s meeting – for biosecurity and quarantine operations, disease monitoring and surveillance, upgrading of laboratories, capacity-building, and other disease control measures.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the National ASF Task Force (NATF) will also convene to flesh out inter-agency coordination, in partnership with concerned local government units (LGUs) and the private sector.
Chaired by the President and with the DA as vice-chair and lead agency, the NATF is initially composed of secretaries Carlos Dominguez III (DOF), Teodoro Locsin, Jr. (DFA), Eduardo Año (DILG), Francisco Duque (DOH), Roy Cimatu (DENR), Ramon Lopez (DTI), Delfin Lorenzana (DND), Wendel Avisado (DBM), Arthur Tugade (DOTr), and NDRRMC Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad.
After receiving on September 9, 2019, the confirmatory test results from the World Organization for Animal Health or Office International des Epizooties (OIE) reference laboratory in Pirbright, England, the DA Crisis Management Team (CMT) on Swine oriented all the DA regional directors in Luzon (regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 5, and CAR) on the ASF, and providing them guidelines on how to manage, contain, and control the disease. They were tasked to communicate the same to their respective provincial city and municipal LGUs through their veterinary officers.
Secretary Dar also instructed other DA regional directors in Visayas and Mindanao to submit their respective disaster management plan to prevent the possible spread of ASF in their areas.
DA plans to meet with concerned governors and their respective veterinary officers to align the LGU’s local issuances and corresponding actions vis-à-vis national guidelines by the expanded CMT (i.e. DA and the private sector) for a concerted effort with the NATF.
During that meeting, the DA will present a geographic zoning plan to adjust government response to the developing situation on the ground and effectively prevent further spread of ASF in other parts of the country.
The DA also requested the NDRRMC to immediately operationalize and open a line of coordination between the DA and its relevant agencies with the LGU’s respective DRRMCs for quick response on the ground.
Finally, the DA chief assures the consuming public that local pork, provided NMIS-certified, is safe to eat. ###