Animal protection group warns: improper culling may further spread ASF

Marje Pelayo   •   September 23, 2019   •   420

MANILA, Philippines – An animal protection group is calling on the government to strictly impose international guidelines on culling virus-infected animals amid the ongoing outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The World Animal Protection (WAP) condemned the improper way of culling ASF-infected pigs, particularly in Barangay Cupang in Antipolo City last August wherein the people who facilitated the culling were not wearing any protective gear as shown in the video.

In some instances, the pigs were even buried alive.

WAP said such practice might facilitate further spread of the virus.

“Kung mayroong fluids na lumalabas doon sa baboy or dugo (If there are fluids from the pig’s body or blood) any vehicle that will run over the fluids or the mud, will be a vector for transmission,” WAP Global farming director, Mark Dia said.

The group argued that the government must be transparent when it comes to information regarding the outbreak that the public needs to know.

“Kasi kung hindi sigurado ang mga tao (If the people doing it are not sure of what they’re doing) they might have been trying to sell the meat, process the meat, transport the meat, hide the pigs, throw away the pigs, while all of that is happening there is active transmission,” Dia added.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) announced on September 19 that it was indeed ASF that infected the pigs in Rizal and Bulacan after the agency received the confirmatory tests from a laboratory in Europe.

“(Sometimes) when there is no information, panic actually is the natural reaction,” Dia explained.

“Hindi lang tao, pati gamit, pati kutsilyo, mga ginamit pati yung syringes kung ginamit pati yung mga sasakyan kung merong dugo, merong fluids doon sa lupa at merong putik na dinaanan (Not just through human contact but through objects like knives, syringes, even vehicle wheels that run through infected blood or other fluids on the ground),” the animal protection advocate said.

The group noted that it took countries with an earlier recorded infection like Lithuania and Belgium 20 to 25 years before they finally eliminated the African Swine Fever virus into their pig livestock.

According to WAP, the government should strictly impose appropriate disinfecting procedures to fully eradicate the virus.

“There should be at least 30 minutes contact with the disinfectant para mamatay ang (for the virus to die),” Dia noted.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte reported early on Monday (September 23) that the culling operations in Barangay Payatas already brought down 400 ASF-infected pigs, aside from about 300 previously culled in Barangay Bagong Silangan. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Community quarantine slows down ASF infection – BAI

Marje Pelayo   •   June 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Meat traders in the Balintawak market are complaining of slow sales amid strict quarantine measures imposed in public markets due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Vendor Cindy Baligao said the price of pork meat has increased by P40 to P50 per kilogram and P20 per kilogram for chicken.

She said the huge increase in prices makes it difficult to sell their products at a price acceptable to customers. 

“Hindi namin maidispose ng maayos yung presyuhan kasi sobrang taas na, [We cannot properly dispose of the products because of the very high price],” Cindy said.

But according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), there is no shortage in the supply of pork and chicken.

BAI Officer-In-Charge Ronnie Domingo said traders may have been compelled to add the cost of transport to the market price of pork because they source them from areas not affected by African Swine Fever (ASF). 

“Kapag nag-byahe iyan, iyong gastos niya sa freight, sa transport, idadagdag niya yan sa pagbebenta nya nung retail ng karne. Kaya siguro nararanasan nila ang pagtaas ng presyo ng baboy sa lugar na iyon [During transport, the traders will pay for the freight charges, transport charges which they will add on the retail price of meat. That’s probably the reason for the increase],” Domingo said.

On a positive note, Domingo said, the ASF cases in the country dropped by 10% in April and May when community quarantine orders were implemented.

This development was due to the strict protocols at checkpoints placed in borders by the local government units (LGU). 

“Dahil na-control mo ang pag-galaw ay mako-control mo din yung pagkalat ng sakit [By controlling the movement you were able to control the spread of disease],” Domingo said.

“Sa Luzon naman, napansin natin overall ay pagpasok na nung ECQ ay bumaba na may drastic decrease nung mga reports na meron daw silang mga ASF cases [In Luzon, there was a drastic decrease in reports of ASF cases while the ECQ was in effect],” he added.

Meanwhile, BAI has changed its protocol in culling ASF-infected pigs. 

Instead of culling all pigs within the one-kilometer radius, the agency limited the culling only in the main area where the infected pigs are.

Pigs in nearby areas from the infected site will only be placed under observation. 

As for the supply of chicken, the country’s supply is still enough at 200 per day until the end of the year. 

Overall, around 291,000 pigs or only about two percent of the country’s overall supply of swine or pig livestock were culled due to ASF. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

BSP grants regulatory relief for banks affected by ASF, COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 27, 2020

BANGKO SENTRAL

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will grant regulatory relief to banks and quasi banks (QBs) that sustained losses due to their clients being affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We believe that the grant of regulatory and rediscounting relief measures is also applicable to financial institutions whose clients have suffered from adverse effects of these crises,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said.

The temporary regulatory relief includes grace periods for rediscounting loans, staggered booking of allowance for credit losses, non-imposition of penalties on legal reserve deficiencies, and non-recognition of certain defaulted accounts as past due.

Diokno said the BSP recognizes the potentially crippling impact of the said events on key industries, which include the tourism industry.

“The BSP’s initial assessment points to a potential dampening impact on the Philippine economy in the near term mainly through disruptions to tourism and associated services,” he said.

The House of Representatives is already tackling the issue on how to compensate for the tourism losses due to the implemented travel ban prompted by the COVID-19 threat.—AAC

DA Bicol confirms positive cases of African Swine Fever in CamSur

Marje Pelayo   •   February 21, 2020

BICOL, Philippines – Tests on organ samples collected from dead pigs in a barangay in Bombon, Camarines Sur revealed contamination of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Director Rodel Tornilla in a statement on Thursday (February 20) confirmed that swine mortality in Barangay Sto. Domingo in Bombon was caused by the deadly pig virus.

Tornilla assured that the DA and the local government of Bombon are implementing measures to manage, contain and control the pig disease.

The most recent incident of swine mortality due to ASF was reported in Davao Occidental and Davao City.

READ: DA to probe how ASF reached Davao Occidental

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