Duterte forms task force on animal-borne diseases, such as ASF
President Rodrigo Duterte has created an interagency task force that will address animal-borne diseases, such as the African Swine Fever that is currently affecting the local hog industry.
Duterte issued Executive Order No. 105, creating a National Task Force to prevent the entry of animal-borne diseases, contain and control their transmission, and address issues relating thereto on February 21.
This was four days before Duterte convened Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and other officials to discuss updates on the ASF outbreak, not only in Luzon, but in some parts of Mindanao, including his hometown of Davao City.
"The current ASF outbreak, which poses catastrophic effects on the Philippines' swine industry, the production supply chain and the economy, as a whole, requires drastic disease control and preventive measures, including mass culling of the affected hog population," the EO read.
According to the EO, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed backyard and commercial farms in several areas in Luzon have been affected by the ASF virus, and more than 67,000 hogs have been culled to control the spread of the said disease.
The DA recently culled thousands of pigs in some areas in Mindanao, such as Davao City and Davao Occidental.
It stressed the "urgent need" to create the inter-agency task force, which will formulate, oversee and implement effective and coordinate policies and strategies to manage, contain and control the spread of such diseases.
Under the EO, the National Task Force on Animal-Borne Diseases is chaired by the agriculture secretary, with the health secretary as vice chairperson.
The members of the task force include the Executive Secretary; secretaries of the Departments of Interior and Local Government, Environment and Natural Resources, Trade and Industry, Finance, Budget and Management, Social Welfare and Development, Foreign Affairs, Transportation, National Defense, Labor and Employment, Justice, and Tourism; Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs; and Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
The NTFAD shall be assisted by a secretariat.
The EO also sought for the assistance and cooperation of other government agencies or institutions, the private sector, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders.
Resources needed for the implementation of the Order shall be sourced from available funds of the member agencies of the NTFAD, and if necessary, such other appropriate funding sources as the DBM may identify.
The Order shall take effect immediately. Celerina Monte/DMS