DA, BAI confirm ASF outbreak; call on public to help prevent spread of pig disease

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2019   •   544

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in a press release admitted that the current African Swine Fever (ASF) episodes in Rizal and Bulacan may be considered an outbreak but not yet an epidemic.

The Department assured, however, that the pig virus has already been contained in Barangay Pritil and Guiguinto in Bulacan as well as in several barangays in Rodriguez, San Mateo, and Antipolo in Rizal.

The agency, through Secretary William Dar, stressed that the outbreak is not affecting the entire country thus it appeals to the public as well as the media not to ignite fear as unverified and unvalidated reports could create irreversible damage to the country’s hog industry which is also the source of livelihood for millions of Filipinos.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) confirmed that the cases of pig deaths in Rizal and Bulacan have been at outbreak level since August this year.

“Basta na-confirm na ito’y tumaas doon sa normally expected na nagkakasakit at normal na bilang ng namamatay, outbreak na iyon. August po iyon,” Director Ronnie Domingo said in an interview on Monday (September 16) when asked as to when the outbreak started.

(If the confirmed number of pig deaths goes beyond the normal number of expected deaths, that’s outbreak already. That was the case in August.)

The agency, meanwhile, doesn’t want to confirm what the Quezon City government announced regarding ASF-positive pigs amid culling operations in the city.

According to Domingo, they are still conducting laboratory tests on the pig samples including those that floated in a creek in Bagong Silangan as well as those recovered in Marikina River.

The official echoed Secretary Dar’s call on hog raisers to report pigs that had gone sick in order to prevent the spread of the deadly swine virus.

“Sana makalaya tayo kaagad in the shortest possible time (We hope to end this (problem) in the shortest possible time),” Domingo said.

“Pero pagka may nagtatago at ganyan na hindi nakikisama, mae-extend ang control measures na ginagawa (natin) (But if there are some who conceal [their hogs], we need to extend our control measures),” he added. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Bulacan Congressman Villarica contracts COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   March 27, 2020

Bulacan Fourth District Representative Henry Villarica

MANILA, Philippines – Bulacan Fourth District Representative Henry Villarica has tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), House of Representatives Secretary-General Atty. Jose Luis Montales confirmed Thursday.

Montales said Villarica last reported for work at the House on March 4, and was admitted to the hospital on March 18 for pneumonia.

On March 8, he attended an event hosted by Baliuag, Bulacan Mayor Ferdie Estrella, who was earlier reported to have tested positive for COVID-19.

The secretary-general said Villarica is now in stable condition, while none of his staff have manifested any symptoms.

Montales said the Medical Department of the House of Representatives is now tracing all those who may have had contact with the virus-infected solon.

Villarica is the latest lawmaker to have contracted the viral disease.

ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap earlier tested positive for coronavirus, as well as Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Aquilino Pimentel III, and Sonny Angara.

Aside from Estrella, local officials who got infected with the virus are Rizal Governor Nini Ynares, and Naic, Cavite Mayor Junio Dualan.

The Department of Health on Thursday reported 71 new cases, bringing the total confirmed infections to 707. The number of fatalities also rose to 45 while 28 have recovered. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

ERRATUM:
The House of Representatives issued an erratum on the date of Rep. Villarica’s confinement which was on March 18 instead of March 12 as previously reported. Revision has been made accordingly.

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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