DA intensifies border control amid African Swine Fever scare

Marje Pelayo   •   April 5, 2019   •   2159

FILE PHOTO: Pigs are seen in a piggery at a village near Warsaw April 10, 2014. Poland has asked the European Union to intervene in a spat over Russia banning imports of Polish pork and says that the case could be taken up by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia suspended imports in February, citing concerns that cases of African swine fever among wild boars in Poland could spread to farmed pigs. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel (POLAND – Tags: ANIMALS HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines intensifies its border control against the entry of meat products from Cambodia and other countries that currently declared African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

The World Animal Health Organization or OIE has confirmed the ASF outbreak in Cambodia, the second Southeast Asian country to be affected by the deadly swine disease.

This was revealed by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on the sidelines of the 28th National Hog Convention and Trade Exhibits on Thursday (April 4).

In his Facebook page, the Agriculture Secretary said a total of 15 meat-sniffing dogs, all German Shepherds, will be stationed in areas before the Customs counter of the International airports starting this weekend.

To be commissioned by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), the initial batch of service dogs are all from Talisay City, Negros Occidental K9 Field of Dreams.

Meanwhile, another 40 dogs are now being trained for meat sniffing and will be deployed in two months, according to Secretary Piñol.

Cambodia will join 15 other countries banned from shipping meat products to the Philippines, with the most recent prohibitions from Vietnam and Mongolia. – Marje Pelayo

READ: Filipinos urged to buy local pork products amid fears of African Swine Fever

DA assures PH pork still safe for consumption

Marje Pelayo   •   August 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) maintains that pork items in local markets are still safe for consumption despite reports of sudden pig deaths in some areas in the country.

“We assure the public that the meat in the market today is safe (because) it’s sourced from areas (that) are not infected,” assured Noel Reyes, spokesperson of Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

The Department has already imposed a major disease protocol in the areas of concern though the DA has not yet named where the specific locations are and what have caused the pigs death.

In accordance with the protocol, all pigs within the 1 kilometer radius have already been culled while those within the 7 kilometer radius have been placed under control where entry and exit of pigs are prohibited.

Meanwhile, pig handlers within the 10 kilometer radius from the infected site are obliged to report immediately if there is pig mortality in their area.

Reyes said the DA suspected that the reported deaths of pigs could have been caused by ‘swill’ or food leftovers that’s why the DA advised all hog raisers to refrain from feeding their pigs with swill.

Reyes noted that hog raisers may have resorted to swill because it is cheaper.

The DA sais it may take up to two weeks to three months before the result of the confirmatory test on the infected pigs’ samples is released to determine what type of pig disease hit them.

The department assured that in the next bulletin, they will include details of assistance that affected hog raisers may avail to cope up with the problem. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2019

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)

Taiwan starts checking carry-on baggage from PH due to alleged African Swine Fever

UNTV News   •   August 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Taiwan government has started checking carry-on baggage of travelers coming from the Philippines for entry of pork and pork based products.

The new policy was announced on Sunday (August 18) by Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) as a precaution against African Swine Fever (ASF).

Under the new rule, all carry-on bags from the Philippines will be examined by X-Ray machines at the airport and other ports of entry.

According to a report from Taiwan News, the CEOC was informed by a reliable source that ASF cases have been detected in two provinces.

This, despite no confirmed reports from local authorities have been submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) yet, the center said.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Monday (August 19) confirmed that there were reported pig deaths in certain areas in the country but refused to identify the location.

The Department, however, is still waiting for the result of the confirmatory tests being made on pig specimens to make sure what type of disease infested the pigs, according to Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronie Domingo.

“Noong 1998, ang Malaysia, namatay ang mga baboy nila at nagkasakit ang mga tao din at sabi nila ang sakit na ito kuwan lang ito Japanese encephalitis. Kayat gumawa sila ng control measures nila laban sa Japanese encephalitis,” recalled Domingo.

(In 1998, Malaysia reported pig deaths which also infected humans. They said it was Japanese encephalitis so they imposed control measures against Japanese encephalitis.)

“Nag-fogging sila at kung ano-ano pa pero tuloy-tuloy ang mortalities lalo na doon sa mga nag-aalaga ng baboy and then ito ay naging national issue, naging international issue siya. Halos nag collapse ang kanilang swine industry pero later on na-discover nila it was Nipa virus. Wrong diagnosis,” he added.

(They did fogging and many other measures but the mortality continued especially among pig handlers. It became a national issue even an international issue. (Malaysia’s) swine industry almost collapsed but later on, they discovered, it was Nipa virus. (So) wrong diagnosis.)

Taiwan’s checking of carry-on baggage of incoming travellers from the Philippines takes effect Monday (August 19).

Travelers who will be caught carrying pork product starting August 19 from non ASF-infected countries without declaring them to the authorities will face a fine of between NT$10,000 (US$316) or P16,500 to NT$30,000 (US$950) or P50,000 for bringing pork products from non-ASF-affected countries.

Meanwhile, bringing in to Taiwan pork products without reporting to authorities will incur penalties of NT$200,000 (US$6,300) or about P300,000 for first offense and NT$1 million (US$31,600) or P1.6-M for committing the offense twice. — MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

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