President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the creation of a national task force to formulate and implement policies to control the spread of animal-borne diseases such as African swine fever following the spike in the number of cases nationwide.
Under Executive Order 105 signed Feb. 21, the national task force is tasked to develop a national risk-reduction program and a comprehensive framework to manage, contain, control and eradicate animal-borne diseases―including measures such as quarantine, zoning plans, biosecurity, surveillance, and proper waste disposal.
The task force will also ensure the integrity of all international ports of entry and the inspection of markets for imported goods that contain products that may be infected by animal-borne diseases.
Led by Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the task force will also develop programs to aid those affected by animal-borne diseases, such as the grant of financial assistance and livelihood alternatives.
All departments, bureaus, offices, agencies or institutions of the government, including government-owned-or-controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, are directed, and local government units are enjoined, to render the necessary assistance to the task force.
President Duterte met with Dar, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and local government officials in Malacañang on Tuesday to discuss efforts to manage the ASF that has hurt the hog industry.
In a chance interview with reporters in Malacañang, Duterte said ASF-free hogs should be properly labeled to hasten the flow of pork and pork products in the country.
Earlier this month, he ordered all government agencies and local government units to ensure the “strict” implementation of the DA’s nationwide zoning plan as more than 67,000 hogs had been culled to control the spread of the ASF.