ASF scare vexes pork meat vendors, lechon makers in Bulacan

Marje Pelayo   •   September 18, 2019   •   201

BULACAN, Philippines – The pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF) has so far affected five barangays in the municipality of Guiguinto.

These are barangays Tiaong, Kut-Kot, Malis, Tabe and Pritil.

Hog raisers are already complaining over huge loss of income.

Even pork meat vendors and lechon makers in the province are also hurt by the ASF outbreak.

Based on records of the Municipal Veterinary Office, over a hundred pigs have already died in these areas since August 16.

Authorities suspect that the pigs delivered from Rizal may have been the source of the spread of ASF in Guiguinto.

“Dinadala dito. Doon sila humahango (The pigs are brought here from there [Rizal]) ,” said Guiguinto Municipal Veterinary Officer Eduardo Jose.

“Pagdating dyan naunang nagkaroon ng report sa Rodriguez. Nag-suspect ang provincial veterinary office na nadala dito sa Pritil, (The report first surfaced in Rodriguez. The provincial veterinary office suspected that the virus was brought here in Pritil)” Jose said.

Hog raisers are starting to complain over huge loss of income due to ASF outbreak.

“Dito po namin inilibing ang labinlimang baboy na namatay kahapon. Affected po ang Pritil, (This is where we buried 15 pigs that died yesterday. Pritil is also affected),” said hog raiser Sofia Verde.

Verde said she already lost more than 100 pigs including a sow.

Barangay Pritil for now does not accept delivery of pigs from Rizal and Batangas due to ASF outbreak.

Aside from pork meat vendors, lechon makers in Bulacan are also hurt by the outbreak as buyers of the Filipino pork delicacy have become fewer.

“Matumal talaga. Nasasabay pa yung balita na (African Swine Fever) sa baboy, (Sales have been slow, and news about African Swine Fever is making it worse),” noted lechon maker Minda Atim.

Some pork meat vendors whose products were certified by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) said they were not exempted from the impact of ASF scare.

They blame the media for fueling the flames when it comes to ASF.

“Ang nangyari kasi malakas rin ang (impluwensiya) ng media, (The influence of media is strong),” said Lisa Apolinario, a pork meat vendor.

“Napapakita, napapanood na akala nila ganun na lahat ng paninda. Maayos ang paninda namin kasi may certificate naman kami (When people see it on TV they think all pork being sold in the market are affected. Our products are safe because we have certificates),” Apolinario argued.

Meanwhile, some consumers prefer to be safe by buying other sources of protein instead of pork meat.

 “Mga seafood na lang binibili namin and chicken, (We prefer to buy seafood and chicken),” said Paula Angeles.

“Mas maganda mag-ingat na lang po ngayon, (It’s better to be cautious,)” another consumer, Jane Art said.

“Kapag wala na siguro yung case ng swine (fever) saka na lang siguro magbaboy, (When the case of (African) Swine (Fever) is cleared, that’s the time we could buy pork again),” she concluded. – MNP (with reports from Nestor Torres)

DepEd urged to heighten measures vs consumption of ASF-tainted products in schools

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2019

 Filipino children are seen in front of a school in Manila, Philippines, 08 October 2019 (issued 11 October 2019). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – A senator has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to heighten precautionary measures to prevent students from consuming pork products tainted with African Swine Fever (ASF) in schools.

In a statement, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said DepEd should exercise vigilance following reports that processed pork meats from China tested positive for ASF, as well as some skinless longganisa and hotdog products from local manufacturer, Mekeni.

“Sa mga feeding program na isinasagawa ng DepEd, halimbawa, dapat siguruhin ng ating mga guro na gumagamit sila ng mga malinis at mapagkakatiwalaang mga produktong ipakakain sa mga bata,” he said in a statement.

While ASF does not pose a threat to human health, the senator said schools should raise awareness and exhaust all sanitary measures to protect students from ASF-contaminated products.

Gatchalian also cited an advisory from the Department of Health which identified uncooked and undercooked contaminated pork as a source of ASF’s spread in swine herds.

Health authorities said the swine disease is introduced into a herd when contaminated raw pork is ingested by a pig. The virus spreads when contaminated pigs get into direct contact with other pigs.

Food waste, feed, and garbage can also cause ASF when ingested by pigs.

“Etong mga hakbang na maaari nating gawin, nagsisimula ito sa responsableng pamimili at lubos na pagluluto ng karne sa mga paaralan. Ito ay upang maiwasan natin ang pagkakasakit ng mga mag-aaral pati na rin ang pagkalat pa ng ASF,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture earlier said that the illegal importation of pork products from China was responsible for the spread of the ASF virus in the country.

Gatchalian also urged DepEd to involve parents in efforts to raise awareness on sanitary practices and preventive measures.

“While schools play an important role to protect our students’ health, it is important that we also extend our efforts at the household level. Kahit gawin ng mga paaralan ang lahat ng pwedeng gawin kung hindi naman nababantayan sa mga bahay nila, malalagay pa rin sa panganib ang ating mga estudyante,” he said.

ASF disinfection facility in Batangas removed for causing traffic jam

Marje Pelayo   •   November 8, 2019

BATANGAS, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has put up its first automated road disinfection facility in South Luzon Expressway extension-STAR Tollway bio-security and quarantine checkpoint in Santo Tomas, Batangas early November.

The facility, which was inaugurated by Secretary William Dar himself, was established to avert the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) and to prevent the entry of other animal diseases into the province of Batangas.

But after only a week, the management of STAR Tollway decided to remove it arguing that the facility was causing heavy traffic in the area.

The toll management did not issue any official statement on the matter.

But according to Engineer Arnel de Mesa, the DA’s Regional Director for Calabarzon, they are actually looking for a larger area where they can place the facility without disrupting traffic.

“Ang alam ko lang doon sa Sto. Tomas kasi may arrangement doon sa STAR Tollway na hahanapan [ng lugar],” De Mesa said.

“Kasi noong nailagay doon, naka experience ng matinding traffic so i-mo-move doon sa area na hindi magko-cause ng matinding trapik,” he added.

Without the facility, quarantine personnel do not have any choice but to do manual disinfection of all vehicles bound for Batangas.

“This is one way of preventing the spread of any disease lalo na yung mga gulong kaya dun sa mga farm meron silang tinatawag na foot bath tsaka tire bath,” De Mesa explained.

“Karamihan kasi ng mga sakit nandiyan sa mga sapatos, nandiyan sa mga gulong, nasa mga sasakyan,” he added.

The DA is planning to install 12 automated road disinfection facilities in strategic locations across the region where most ASF infections were recorded.

“Para patuloy po ang ating bio security control measures, hindi lang para sa ASF kundi sa major economic diseases na mga alagang hayop sa Calabarzon,” he said.

Batangas, Laguna and Quezon remain ASF-free, De Mesa assured. – MNP (with reports from Sherwin Culubong)

President approves use of remaining contingency fund to aid hog raisers affected by ASF

Maris Federez   •   November 7, 2019

Pigs in a backyard piggery are seen before culling after symptoms of African Swine Fever (ASF) were detected in the Pasong Tamo village of Quezon City, Philippines, 03 October 2019. According to local media reports, three other areas of Quezon City have registered cases of ASF, as the Philippines Department of Agriculture urged pig traders not to transport pigs from affected areas to prevent the virus from spreading any further. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the use of the remaining of the contingency fund of his office to extend assistance to the hog raisers who were affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).

This is one of the concerns brought up in the 43rd cabinet meeting with the President.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said such a measure is necessary given the current state of the hog industry.

“It is necessary because we need funds to help in the—in the drive. We need to help the hog raisers,” Panelo said.

Reports said that the hog industry had already lost billions of pesos and that around 70,000 pigs have now been put to death due to ASF infection since August.

According to Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar, the said contingency fund amounts to P1-Billion.  (from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf 

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