THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will release P187 million to help hog raisers affected by the unexplained deaths of pigs, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

Farm pigs rests easy at the 28th National Hog Convention and Trade Exhibition at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on April 2019. PHOTO BY ENRIQUE AGCAOILI

Dar, who attended a budget hearing at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said the money would be used to aid hog raisers, whose animals either died or were culled.

Immediately after the hog deaths were reported in several areas in Luzon, the Agriculture department asked Malacañang for financial assistance. Dar said the Department of Budget and Management vowed to release the money on Tuesday, August 27.

The bulk of the money would be used to further strengthen the DA’s contingency programs and biosecurity measures, Undersecretary Ariel

Cayanan said.

Last week, the DA ordered stringent food safety measures and quarantine procedures. It also banned the transportation of live animals, meat products and meat by-products, unless with a Veterinary Health Certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian.

Dar earlier imposed the implementation of the 1-7-10 protocol to prevent the spread of the disease that caused hog deaths. This means all hogs under a 1-kilometer radius from the affected area will be culled, those in the 7-kilometer radius will be under surveillance and those in the 10-kilometer radius would be declared food security area.

“We have to manage the whole situation. We are extra careful. The [hog] industry is contributing P260 billion... If our management will not be good or proper, this will explode and [will become a huge loss],” Dar said.