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PRRD okays use of OP contingent fund vs. ASF

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) proposal to use the Office of the President’s remaining contingency fund to help prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte approved of Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s proposal during the 43rd Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday.
Panelo said the fund will be used to indemnify affected hog raisers and to designate cold storage areas in the Ports of Manila, Subic, Batangas, Cebu and Davao for 100 percent monitoring of meat products entry.
He, however, did not give an estimate of the amount of funds to be released.
Last September, Duterte approved the release of PHP78-million emergency fund for biosecurity and quarantine operations, disease monitoring and surveillance, upgrading of laboratories, capacity-building, and other disease control measures against ASF.
Meanwhile, the National ASF Task Force (NATF) was also created to flesh out inter-agency coordination, in partnership with concerned local government units (LGUs) and the private sector.
On Wednesday, ASF Task Force Head Reildrin Morales assured that ASF in the country is still “managed” and can eventually be eradicated.
The government’s latest report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) showed that there have been a total of 24 ASF outbreaks in the country and 555 actual ASF cases, with new cases found in Caloocan City and Malabon City.
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