By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte creates a national task force to prevent the entry and spread of animal-borne diseases.
Under Executive Order No. 105, the National Task Force on Animal-Borne Diseases (NTFAD) shall be chaired by the Agriculture Secretary William Dar, with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III as vice chairperson.
The Task Force will formulate appropriate policies, regulations and measures to address issues relating to animal-borne diseases, including the African swine fever virus; develop a national risk reduction program and a comprehensive framework to manage, contain, control and eradicate such diseases; supervise and monitor the implementation of the policies, regulations, measures and programs to be developed under this Order; and formulate and issue zoning and movement plans for the prevention and control of animal-borne diseases.
Duterte also directs the group to develop and implement a national public awareness campaign on animal-borne diseases which may pose a threat to the country, as well as, establish programs to aid those affected by the diseases.
“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 production,” the President said in his February 21 directive.
The members of the Task Force include: Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Isidro Lapeña.