DA increases indemnity payment for pigs culled due to ASF to P5,000
Marje Pelayo • October 14, 2019 • 361
MANILA, Philippines – Hog raisers affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) will now get P5,000 for each pig culled within the one-kilometer radius from ground zero where the deadly pig virus was detected.
So far, the Department of Agriculture (DA) already recorded more than 40,000 pigs culled due to ASF.
The DA is now strengthening its quarantine checkpoints in different parts of the country to stop the spread of the ASF virus.
On Friday (October 11), around 700 crates of pig products were seized in San Juanico Bridge in Tacloban City from Bulacan amounting to P1.6 million.
According to the Tacloban Veterinary Office, the products were confiscated for lack of necessary documents.
In his social media post, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Secretary Manny Piñol questioned why such shipment was able to pass the quarantine checkpoints in Matnog in Sorsogon and in Northern Samar.
The DA, meanwhile, said it is conducting an investigation on the matter.
“That is something that we have to find-out kung bakit nakalusot ito (why it passed slip the quarantine checkpoints),” said DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan.
Meat processors, on the other hand, fear of possible loss in income of up to P55 billion if the government will not impose a more concrete system in banning the transportation of pork products.
According to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI), their products undergo proper food treatment to eliminate the ASF virus.
“Processed meats are not carriers of ASF,” explained PAMPI Spokesperson Rex Agarrado.
“Processed meats are all processed at temperatures that kill the organism,” he added. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines – A United States agency report reveals that the Philippines has become the world’s biggest importer of rice, just months after the rice tariffication bill was enacted.
The US Department of Agriculture – Foreign Agricultural Service report also projected that the Philippines will have imported a total of 3-million metric tons of rice before the year ends.
This is 58% higher compared to the 1.9-million metric tons of rice that the country imported in 2018.
The Philippine reportedly outranked China – the biggest rice importer– which is expected to import 2.5 metric tons of rice.
The Department of Agriculture record, however, said that this early, the Philippines has already imported 2.99 million metric tons from January to October.
DA spokesperson Noel Reyes added that 1.8 million metric tons of the total amount of rice that the country has imported were placed after the enactment of the rice tariffication bill in March.
“We cannot restrict. Kasi kung ire-restrict mo ‘yan, we are going against the law, unless the law says, we can only import so much,” Reyes said.
The DA admitted that there may have been an over-importation of rice in the country.
Because of this, DA Secretary William Dar and Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairperson Cynthia Villar are planning to review the said law.
“That’s the feeling of the department because of the complaints of farmers and farmers groups,” Reyes said.
“That’s the wish of the secretary and Senator Villar after a year, they have to review the RTL (Rice Tariffication Law) and probably put in some more provisions so as not to over-exceed our rice requirements,” he added.
Several farmer groups share the same sentiment.
The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said the government must raise the rice importation tariff and focus on increasing the presence of local rice in the market.
“Kapag dumating na ‘yung panahon na naubos na ‘yung sobra, pwede naman nilang tanggalin ‘yung additional tariff na ‘yun para magpasok ulit ng imported. Ganun sana ang laro nila,” said Raul Montemayor, FFF National Manager.
“Parang gusto nating mamatay ‘yung magsasaka, na wala tayong nilagay na control sa import, pasok lang ng pasok ‘yung importation, pabagsak ng pabagsak ang palay, at parang napakahina ‘yung response ng gobyerno,” he added.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), on the other hand, believes that the Rice Tariffication Law must be scrapped.
The group said the latest record of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows that the farm gate price of palay (grains) is now at P15 per kilo.
The KMP, however, said there are still several areas in the country where farmers sell their produce at P10 per kilo.
“Hindi na rin po namimili ang National Food Authority kasi po sa ilalim po ng Rice Tarrification and Liberalization Law, hindi na po sila mamimili ng palay sa magsasaka kaya po lalo pong binabarat ng mga malalaking traders at cartels,” said KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
In a statement, Bantay Bigas group spokesperson Cathy Estavillo said that they have been giving warning that the rice tariffication law will gravely affect the local farmers.
“As we have decried repeatedly, RA 11203 will turn Filipinos into beggars of imported rice. We all have witnessed this law causing bankruptcy to rice farmers, and this will lead to displacement and ultimately declined productivity,” Estavillo said.
To date, the price of a regular milled local rice is somewhere between P35 and P38 per kilo in several marketplaces in Quezon City.
The DA, on the other hand, is confident that the price of rice will continue to go down to P30 per kilo.
The agency also sees a downward trend in rice importation by next year as the local production improves. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf
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.
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)
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