DA formally recommends ASF state of emergency to Palace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18) — The Department of Agriculture has submitted to Malacañang a draft proclamation declaring a state of national emergency, as pork supply continues to take a hit from the African Swine fever.

In a memorandum dated March 17, the agency said such a declaration would “mandate and capacitate concerned government agencies, including the local government units to work together to prevent and control the further spread of ASF.”

The submission comes over a week after members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform passed a resolution urging the DA to make the said recommendation. The agency said it would not be releasing a copy of the draft executive order in deference to the Palace.

However, in a briefing earlier this week, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque revealed the recommendation shall include a ₱1 billion contingency fund for indemnification and hog repopulation for ASF-affected farmers, along with authority to refocus and realign the agency's current budget to address ASF concerns.

The spokesman added it will likewise cover instruction from the Interior Department to local governments on allocating specific funds from their current budgets for ASF-related activities and strengthening the participation, coordination and commitment of agencies in fighting the hog disease.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier noted a declining trend in the number of ASF incidents nationwide starting October last year.