MANILA - An intelligence fund should be given to the Department of Agriculture so the agency can help prevent the spread of livestock diseases, a stakeholder said on Wednesday.
The intelligence fund will cover surveillance and monitoring of livestock diseases, said Arnulfo Frontuna, Chairperson for Livestock of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries.
"Ang sinasabi ko dito noon pa...the Department of Agriculture should have a surveillance and monitoring fund, some sort of an intel fund. Eh kung yung Department of Education binigyan eh, bakit hindi ang Department of Agriculture?," Frontuna said during a hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food.
(What we're saying is that the Department of Agriculture should have a surveillance and monitoring fund, some sort of intel fund. If DepEd has it, why not give one to the Department of Agriculture)
Frontuna said this would also help hasten government response which has been lagging due to lack of funds. A disease may have already been present for months, but remain undetected, he said.
"We have to address that. Intel fund ho iyon," Frontuna said.
Frontuna explained a proposed Enhancement Fund for the industry could be tapped for this purpose.
House Committee on Agriculture and Food Chair Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga explained there is a proposal to amend the existing Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund to set aside funds for livestock.
Frontuna emphasized the importance of surveillance in preventing the spread of the African Swine Flu and bird flu.
The country's swine industry earlier suffered a decline due to the African Swine Fever, causing a surge in the prices of pork.
Intelligence Funds are normally allocated to uniformed services for surveillance purposes. Confidential Funds are the surveillance funds allocated to civilian agencies.
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