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DILG to LGUs: Don’t let local policies impede flow of cargoes amid ASF spread

/ 10:39 AM February 01, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged local government units (LGUs) to make sure policies are not impeding the flow of cargoes to avoid food shortage amid spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that LGUs restricting or limiting the entry of pigs, hogs, and related items to protect against the spread of ASF must not impede the flow of cargoes across LGU boundaries.

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“Although the conscientious efforts of LGUs to mitigate the spread of the ASF in their respective jurisdictions are needed, they still have to ensure that their local policies and directive are aligned and consistent with those of the national government,” Malaya said Monday in a statement.

He also said that the policies of LGUs must be coordinated with the Department of Agriculture (DA) field offices for consistency with the ASF zoning classification system.

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DILG Officer-in-Charge Bernardo Florece Jr. has issued a memorandum urging LGUs to conduct an “immediate review” of their executive orders and align their objectives with presidential and national issuances on the prevention and control of ASF.

He stressed that LGUs must strictly follow the nationwide policy on the unhampered flow of cargoes stipulated in an Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) resolution and Presidential Administrative Order No. 22.

IATF-EID Resolution No. 14 provides for unimpeded movement of all types of food and non-food cargo “to avoid any threat of shortages of food staples, subject to the presentation of relevant documents.”

On the other hand, Presidential Administrative Order No. 22 directs all government agencies and LGUs to strictly implement and comply with the Department of Agriculture’s ASF National Zoning and Movement Plan which has classified the country into various zones with respective movement controls.

Under the DA’s zoning plan, there are two ASF zone classifications, namely, Containment Zone where concerted activities are implemented to contain ASF and isolate the ASF disease towards full eradication, and Free Zone which is the geographical limit that remains free from the ASF virus.

Included in the Containment Zone are the Infected Zone which includes provinces with confirmed ASF cases; Surveillance Zone which includes provinces that are high-risk areas because of the dense population of swine, and volume of trade of pigs, pork, and pork products; Buffer Zone which includes cities/municipalities of the National Capital Region and those which are adjacent to the infected zones, as well as ASF-free localities in an infected province; and Protected Zone which includes regions/provinces with no ASF cases but are contiguous with the yellow zone in terms of landmass.

The zone classification status is regularly reviewed and updated depending on the epidemiological changes of the disease.

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Florece warned that failure to comply with these directives would lead to reprimand or issuance of show cause orders.

Repeated breaches of those directives may also lead to appropriate charges being brought against the local chief executive.

The Philippines is currently under state of calamity because of the rise of food prices due to the spread of ASF affecting pig farms, typhoons that devastated crops and the alleged price manipulation among traders and resellers.

Pork prices have risen by as much as 55 percent from last year, while vegetable prices have skyrocketed by as much as 275 percent. Zac Sarao, Trainee

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TAGS: African swine fever, ASF, DA, DILG, State of Calamity
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