Zambo declaration as ASF calamity area sought anew

The Office of City Veterinarian (OCVet) has reiterated its earlier request to the Sangguniang Panlungsod through Mayor John Dalipe, seeking the declaration of Zamboanga City under the state of calamity due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

Asst. City Veterinarian Dr. Arnedo Agbayani made the manifestation during a meeting Thursday with City Administrator Mario Yanga, Assistant City Administrator Cesar Raz, Councilor Frederick Atilano, city health and slaughterhouse representatives together with the meat vendors, swine raisers, lechoneros and viajeros at City Hall Conference Room.

Dr. Agbayani lamented that the Sangguniang Panlungsod has not acted yet on their request to declare Zamboanga City under an ASF calamity area in an effort to contain and stop ASF from spreading further across the city.

He said the calamity declaration will enable the city government to utilize its calamity funds to address the ASF outbreak, grant indemnification for depopulation, and implement such other measures and interventions that would effectively stop the ASF spread.

For his part, Councilor Atilano assured that he will make proper representations in the City Council to rush up the ASF calamity declaration even as he urged the city administrator to have the request certified as urgent by the mayor.

It was also discussed during the meeting that the existing ordinance on animal disease has to be amended to increase the indemnification assistance for depopulation from P2,500 per head at present to P5,000/head, subject to the approval of the supplemental budget.

Yanga also observed that the current interventions appeared wanting or not effective, otherwise the ASF cases would not have increased. As of July 29, 22 barangays mostly in the east coast have already been affected by ASF with 2,782 swine mortalities, 793 culled, and 770 affected raisers.-(Vic Larato)