DBM releases P82.5 million for anti-ASF measures
The DBM said the amount was released to the Bureau of Animal Industry, an attached agency of Department of Agriculture (DA), on Sept. 10 upon approval of President Duterte.
DBM releases P82.5 million for anti-ASF measures
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P82.5 million in funds for the implementation of measures that aim to prevent the further spread of African swine fever (ASF) in the country.

The DBM said the amount was released to the Bureau of Animal Industry, an attached agency of Department of Agriculture (DA), on Sept. 10 upon approval of President Duterte.

Of the total amount, DBM said about P31.8 million will be appropriated for the maintenance of security measures at international airports, particularly for the detection of meat and meat products, while P27.7 million will be used for the testing of samples of meat and meat products.

Another P17.6 million will be used for surveillance and monitoring activities, and the remaining P5.4 million will be used for the conduct of awareness campaigns and capacity building initiatives.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced on Monday that some of the blood samples from hogs in Rizal and Bulacan have tested positive for ASF. 

He said the DA is also verifying reports of possible ASF cases in other areas.

Following this development, the Department of Finance (DOF) expressed concern over the ASF’s impact on inflation, but stressed that the government will be on top of this issue to prevent food prices from spiking.

“I am sure the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and the DA are on top of this,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a text message shared by Dominguez, said the government will intensify its price monitoring on both processed and fresh frozen meats in public markets.

Dar said commercial hog raisers have assured the DA that they have a steady supply of pork, which would hopefully stabilize prices.

Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura chairman Rosendo So said hog raisers expect normal trading of pork amid the ASF scare.

He said ASF has apparently been contained in the country and the price of pork is expected not to increase but instead stabilize.

If the spread of the disease is not contained like what happened in China and Hong Kong, So said the price of pork will surely increase.

He said the government should continue efforts to prevent the entry into the country of pork products with ASF.

In Bulacan, Guiguinto Mayor Ambrocio Cruz has enforced a strict quarantine to prevent hogs from entering or going out of Barangay Pritil where ASF-infected pigs have recently died or were killed to stop the spread of the disease.

Cruz said many residents of the barangay are engaged in hog raising and trading and to make sure the disease is completely eradicated, all animal pens have been disinfected with chemicals and caretakers were also quarantined as additional preventive measure.

Voltaire Basinang, Bulacan provincial veterinarian, said that so far only Barangay Pritil was placed under quarantine, which lifting rests solely on the Bureau of Animal Industry. – With Ramon Efren Lazaro, Eva Visperas

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