DA confirms swine deaths despite no declaration of hog-related disease

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2019   •   351

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is being careful when it comes to declaring what virus could have caused the latest infestation of pigs in the country.

According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, he was informed about the swine deaths last Friday (August 16) but he refused to name the exact location.

He assured, however, that the government is on top of the situation and is working to address the issue.

“Kung ano ang suspected na may disease ay kina-cull-out, inaalis, binu-bury at dini-disinfect ang lugar (The pigs suspected of the disease are culled out, removed (from the herd), and buried; then the place is disinfected),” according to Secretary Dar.

The secretary wants to see the result of the confirmatory test first being done by foreign experts before declaring what type or kind of disease has caused the deaths of the pigs.

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), likewise, said they cannot risk committing mistakes by making hasty conclusions like what happened to other countries.

“September 2018 ay nagkamatayan din ang mga baboy sa Japan at ito ay naging national issue, naging international issue (In September 2018, swine deaths were reported in Japan and it became a national issue and had gotten international),” explained BAI Director Ronie Domingo.

“(Ang) ginawa nila, ang kanilang laboratory procedures, diagnosed that it was hog cholera. Pero 75,000 na ang kanilang na-cull na baboy, (What they did, based on their laboratory procedures, was diagnose that it was hog cholera. But they have already culled 75,000 pigs,)” he noted.

The confirmatory test may take up to two weeks to three months.

The possibility of African Swine Fever (ASF) infestation surfaced when the Taiwan government beefed up its customs regulations by banning entry of pork products and checking of carry-on baggage of travelers from the Philippines.

The DA maintains that the Philippines remains ASF free and has banned entry of pork products from 19 ASF-infected countries. – MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

Pig scale operators, traders irked over loss of income due to ASF scare

Marje Pelayo   •   September 23, 2019

BULACAN, Philippines – Pig scaling and trading posts in the municipality of Guiguinto remain closed due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The Provincial Veterinary Office has placed four sentinel pigs in the trading post in Barangay Pritil to observe if the ASF virus still persists in the area despite after disinfection.

“Ini-observe nila kung tatamaan iyon o mayroon pa, (the sentinel pigs are being monitored for infection, to see if the virus persists),” explained Eduardo Jose, the municipal veterinarian.

“Sa ngayon, buhay pa naman iyong mga piglets na nilagay doon. May possibility wala na doon sa area, (So far, the piglets are still alive. Possibly, the virus has been eliminated in the area),” he added.

Since the sentinel pigs remain healthy, traders appeal to the government to allow them to resume their operation as the temporary closure of the trading post has hugely affected their income.

“Pagbigyan ninyo na kami makapag hanapbuhay, (Allow us to earn a living),” Sheryl Santiago Macario, a pig scale operator said.

“May isang buwan na po kaming hindi kumikita, (We’ve had no income for a month already),” she added.

 The sentinel pigs will be observed for three months.

After which, the Provincial Veterinary Office will discuss protocols before they declare the municipality free of ASF.

Pig scale operators earn P30 for one pig they are asked to weigh while P20 for each pig being stationed in their post before the animal is delivered to the slaughterhouse. – MNP (with details from Nestor Torres)

DA to double tariffs on imported rice to aid local farmers

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced on Friday (September 20) that the Department of Agriculture (DA) will impose double tariff on imported rice effective end of this month.

“We have to holistically and systematically protect the consuming public and much more, the farmers,” Dar said.

“So, I have taken the necessary steps and the direction in which we will be enforcing doubling the tariff during these times when we have exceeded importing rice beyond the requirement of this country,” he added.

The official said such measure is to address the increasing price of rice in markets in line with the Republic Act 8752 (Anti-Dumping Act of 1999).

The law said anti-dumping duties are imposed on imports which the government determines to be priced below fair market value.

“We will impose a tariff from the present level of 35 percent to 75 percent for imported rice coming from ASEAN countries and double the tariff from those outside ASEAN countries from 50-100%,” Secretary Dar said.

At present, 93% of the country’s rice is locally produced while about 7 to 10% comes from importation.

“We will protect the farmers by not allowing additional importation so that during this main harvest our local farmers will benefit from the respectable prices set by the government,” Dar concluded.

Hog raisers in Mindanao want quarantine wall vs ASF

Robie de Guzman   •   September 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Hog raisers in Mindanao are recommending the establishment of a quarantine wall to block the entry of the African Swine Fever (AFS) virus in the region.

During the first Mindanao Hog raisers Forum held in Davao City on Wednesday (Sept 18), Mindanao Development Authority chairman Manny Piñol said stakeholders are proposing that the island have its own quarantine cluster separate from other main islands in the country.

This is to protect Mindanao’s hog industry from the possible entry of pork meats and other pork products from Luzon and Visayas areas reported to have been hit by the ASF.

The areas with confirmed cases of ASF were Rizal and Bulacan.

“Recommendation of the stakeholders yesterday was to set up a quarantine wall to protect Mindanao from ASF entry. At saka wala namang masyadong problema kasi net exporter (they produce in excess) ang Mindanao ng mga meat products eh, ng pork,” he said.

Piñol, a former agriculture secretary, said if the proposal will be granted, areas with critical point of entries such as General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and Surigao del Norte will be strictly monitored for the possible entry of meat products.

The monitoring will include international sea ports and roll-on/roll-off seacrafts.

Piñol said he has been pushing for this measure since the avian (bird) flu outbreak that previously hit parts of Luzon.

“I think every region affected as of the moment should also do that. Even Visayas should do that,” he said.

Aside from putting up a quarantine wall, Piñol said he will also sign an order to temporarily prohibit swill feeding in hog farms. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mai Bermudez)

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