THE government has approved P78 million in emergency funding for the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) African Swine Fever (ASF) containment efforts.

“The Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) will spend the P78-million emergency fund — approved by President Rodrigo [R.] Duterte and the Cabinet during last week’s meeting — for biosecurity and quarantine operations, disease monitoring and surveillance, upgrading of laboratories, capacity-building, and other disease control measures,” the DA said in Swine Bulletin No. 6 issued to reporters on Wednesday.

A separate P82.5 million has been given to BAI, while the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has approved P60 million worth of loan assistance for hog raisers affected by the first outbreak of ASF.

On Sept. 9, the DA confirmed an outbreak of ASF in Rizal and Bulacan, where 7,416 hogs have so far been culled since Aug. 18 as a preventive measure.

On Sept. 11, dead pigs, which are suspected to be infected by the virus, were found in the Marikina River and in a creek in Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City.

The Quezon City government has declared that hog deaths in the city were caused by ASF.

Mayor Josefina G. Belmonte said at a news conference that the city veterinarian has received “verbal” confirmation of the ASF finding from the Bureau of Animal Industry.

About 166 pigs have been culled in Bagong Silangan since Sunday, she said.

The city government is also investigating hog deaths in the adjoining Barangay Payatas. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang