THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will offer financial assistance to hog farmers who file early reports about possible African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks in their herds, to reduce the possibility of diseased pigs making it to market.

Para ma-encourage iyong mga backyard hog raisers to report immediately to authorities kung may sakit na ‘yung mga baboy nila at huwag na nilang ibenta iyong may mga sakit sa mga hog trader (This is to encourage backyard hog raisers to report diseased hogs immediately to authorities, and to not sell these to hog traders),” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a text message.

Memorandum Order no. 32, series of 2019, signed by Mr. Dar on Dec. 2, calls for “farmers affected by government-organized culling operations (to be provided) financial assistance in cash and/or credit in order to ease the production and financial losses incurred by the farmers.”

The DA will make the payouts from a special account to be initially provided P250 million by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The assistant secretary for livestock and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) have been ordered to draft a Compensation Procedure Manual for approval by the Secretary.

In its report to the World Organization for Animal Health on Nov. 4, the BAI tallied 40,480 affected pigs all over Luzon, including Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Rizal, Cavite, Pangasinan, and Metro Manila. Of this total, 177 died from ASF, while 40,303 were culled and disposed of.

Compensation will not cover losses related to contaminated feeds, disinfection of plants and equipment and other control measures, restocking costs, economic losses due to unfavorable market conditions, and improvement of biosecurity measures. Rates will also be adjusted from time to time by the Agriculture secretary through an Administrative Order. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang