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DBM rolls out fund vs ASF

Maria Romero

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Following the confirmation of the presence of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in some parts of Luzon, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday released an P82.5 million fund to prevent further damage to the country’s P260-billion swine industry.

The budget, which was released to the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) upon the approval of the President on Tuesday, will cover the funding requirements for the ASF preventive measures.

According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, 14 out of the 20 blood samples sent to World Reference Laboratory in Pirbright, England were positive with ASF.

Dar said 7,416 pigs have been culled so far, which include all affected hogs as well as those which have not been inflicted but are located within the one-kilometer radius of the affected facilities.

Of P82.5 million released amount, P31.8 million will be for Maintenance of Security for Detection of Meat and Meat products at the International Airports and P27.7 million will be for testing of samples of meat and meat products.

Some P17.6 million will be for surveillance and monitoring while the remaining P5.4 million will be for Awareness Campaign and Capacity Building.

Currently, the DA is spending its P25 million budget to implement precautionary measures against ASF.

Part of it was used to provide P3,000 cash assistance to pig farmers whose hogs have been culled.

Dar also confirmed on Monday that the Cabinet has approved the creation of a National Task Force on Swine Diseases to be chaired by the DA.

The task force will help intensify the government’s continued reinforcement of import policies, early detection and strict biosecurity measures in bid to heighten the ASF awareness campaign at the national level.

“We have already suspended the ground operations in Rizal and will now focus on cleaning and disinfection operations. However, we will remain vigilant and continue to vigorously conduct surveillance and quarantine measures,” Dar assured.

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