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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the use of the President’s fund amounting to P1 billion to to deal with the African swine fever (ASF) issue in the country.

During Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, Duterte approved the request of Agriculture Secretary William Dar to utilize the remaining contingent fund of the Office of the President for the indemnification of hog raisers.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement said the budget will also be used to designate cold storage areas in the Ports of Manila, Subic, Batangas, Cebu, and Davao for “100% monitoring of meat products entry.”

However, Panelo did not specify how much will be released to the department.

The Philippines has a total of 24 ASF outbreaks, according to the World Organization for Animal Health, which resulted in the death and culling of more than 62,000 hogs in Cavite, Quezon City, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Antipolo, and Rizal.

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