Duterte orders gov’t offices to help stop spread of swine fever

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2019   •   820

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered all government agencies to adopt policies and measures to contain the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country.

In a statement released on Thursday night, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Office of the President — through the initiative of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea — directed all executive departments, bureaus, agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, government financial institutions, and other offices to take action to manage and control the swine disease.

Panelo added that concerned government offices have also been ordered to provide assistance, alternative livelihood and skills training to hog farmers and backyard raisers affected by the ASF.

“Finally, the Office of the President implores the public to extend their utmost cooperation to government authorities in order to prevent the spread of ASF,” he said.

The order was issued after authorities confirmed that some processed meat products were contaminated with the swine fever virus. Some meat products such as tocino, longganisa and hotdog that were seized from Mindoro port reportedly tested positive for the virus.

The swine disease has reportedly affected several hog farms in Luzon, such as in Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite and Quezon City which led to the culling of thousands of pigs to prevent the spread of the disease.

The Department of Agriculture has also been implementing a protocol to control the disease.

The 1-7-10 protocol includes the culling of hogs within one-kilometer radius of infected farms and the setting up of quarantine checkpoints in strategic locations to prevent the movement of all live pigs, pork and pork-related products.

Hog farms, particularly backyard operations, within seven-kilometer radius are subjected to continued surveillance procedures and tests to determine the extent of infection in animals.

Swine farms within a 10-kilometer radius, on the other hand, are required to submit a mandatory report on the disease.

Duterte won’t compromise on quarantine protocols for returning OFWs

Marje Pelayo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not comfortable with relaxing quarantine and testing protocols for arriving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

During Wednesday’s (April 21) public address, the President noted that less stringent measures could compromise the entire country as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

“I’m not quite comfortable with the relaxation that’s being brought now,” he said.

“I am not ready for a compromise lalo na ngayon. ‘Yung ibang sakit siguro, pwede pa – iyong mga rabies. Pero ito, talagang … as I have said, dapo rito, dapo roon,” he added.

The meeting which included health experts was in response to the appeal of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for an immediate swab test on OFWs upon arrival and a shortening of the quarantine period or their stay in hotels or isolation facilities.

“Kaya nga po kami nakikiusap sana, na kung maaari, ay we go back to the original protocol noon na pagdating ng ating OFWs, swab kaagad sila,” Bello said.

The medical experts recommended a review of the testing protocol but insisted that the implementation of strict quarantine measures is still best to be strictly enforced at this time.

“The [Technical Advisory Group] had some preliminary discussions po regarding the current issue, and we were thinking that based on the data that we have right now, it’s a better option to review the testing protocol,” said DOH-TAG member Dr. Anna Ong-Lim.

“We recommend that it be done at a later time, but the critical intervention should really be that quarantine should be strictly enforced,” she concluded.

Number of barangays with ASF drops to 43

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—  The number of barangays affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) since August 2019 has dropped significantly.

From over 2,500 barangays, only 43 have active cases of ASF according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

However, BAI Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Dr. Reildrin Morales said, the fight against the viral disease is far from over and could take years before it can be completely eradicated from the country.

“Lahat may risk kaya we mitigate the risk. Spain took 30 years. We want to learn from their lessons. Hopefully mas maikli tayo lalo na if hindi magbebenta mga farms na may tama,” Morales said.

He added that ASF may also spread through transport of pigs and pork products, but he assured that measures are in place to prevent transmission.

“May integrity ang accreditation system natin sa importation, pre-border, border and second border natin,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (ProPork) president, Nick Briones lamented that hog raisers do not report ASF cases.

“Sigurado di matitigil ang ASF dahil walang nagdedeclare na hog raisers kung may tama ng ASF,” he said.

To address issues on pork supply, the Department of Agriculture has rolled out its swine repopulation program, focusing on areas previously affected by the ASF outbreak. AAC ( with reports from Rey Pelayo)



Senate to reconvene next week to address Duterte appeal on EO 128 – Sotto

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee of the Whole will reconvene next week in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call on lawmakers to give a chance to his order to increase pork imports at lower tariff rates, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday.

In a message to reporters, Sotto said the hearing will be held on Tuesday, April 27 to address Duterte’s appeal for lawmakers to consider the intention of his Executive Order 128.

Duterte made the appeal after the Senate Committee of the Whole adopted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Executive Order 128, which temporarily lowers pork import duties to just 5 percent to 15 percent of the declared shipment value over the next three months.

The order also increases to 350,000 metric tons, from 54,000 metric tons, the total volume of pork that may be imported to the Philippines.

Duterte signed the order in the first week of April in a bid address supply shortage, stabilize prices, and minimize inflation rate due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

Sotto said senators have also agreed to invite Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to the hearing to elaborate on his letter asking Congress to support the executive order.

Dominguez, in a letter addressed to Sotto, said that he and the administration’s economic development cluster made the recommendation to temporarily reduce pork import tariffs and increase the minimum access volume (MAV) on pork imports “after extensive deliberations and consultations among concerned agencies and the public, with all the tradeoffs considered in the cost benefit analysis done on this major consumer concern.”

The DOF chief pointed out in his letter that the period of the tariff adjustment under the EO emphasizes that “this is a short-term effort that does not aim to harm the domestic industry” and is actually “complementary to the programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in helping the domestic hog industry to recover.”

Dominguez said that as Chairman of the Cabinet’s Economic Development Cluster (EDC), he was taking full responsibility for supporting and recommending that the President sign Executive Order 128.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice will also be invited to the hearing, Sotto said.



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