Zubiri calls on DA, other agencies to act faster in containing ASF spread

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2019   •   141

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday (Sept. 16) called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other concerned government agencies to move faster in containing the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in hog farms in the country.

Zubiri made the appeal after the DA confirmed that the ASF caused the deaths of swine in several areas in Bulacan and Rizal provinces.

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

“Ako po ay lubos na nababahala sa pagpasok ng African Swine Fever sa ating bansa bagamat hindi pa natutukoy kung anong strain ang tumama sa ating swine population,” the senator said in a statement.

(I am very much worried over the entry of the African Swine Fever in the country although we have yet to determine the kind of strain that hit our swine population.)

Zubiri also recalled issuing a warning to agency officials about the possible spread of the swine disease during a hearing of the Senate committee on agriculture and food on the ASF in March.

He also recommended during the said hearing the implementation of tighter monitoring and security measures in the country’s sea and airports to prevent the entry of ASF into the country.

“Noong Marso 20 ng taong ito ay pinamunuan natin ang Committee hearing ng Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food kung saan kung saan sinabi ko na — that the damage and economic losses caused by the recent water crisis in some parts of Metro Manila would be incomparable to the havoc and economic losses the ASF could bring into the whole country if ever this epidemic will reach our shores. So, we must not let our guard down, this is a very serious concern,” he said.

“Hiniling din natin na kung maaari ay mag-impose ng total ban sa importation ng pork mula sa ibang bansa. Subalit nakapasok pa rin sa bansa ang ASF. Gusto ko pong malaman ano po ang nangyari? Naging maluwag ba tayo sa pagbabantay?” he added.

“Ngayong andito na sa bansa ang ASF, nais natin na mas higpitan ng DA at iba pang ahensya ng pamahalaan at ng publiko ang pagbabantay at pag-contain nito upang di na kumalat pa sa ibang probinsya o lugar sa bansa. Kailangan nating paigtingin ang bio-security ng ating mga swine farms at wag na po sanang magdala ang ating mga kababayan ng mga pork products mula sa ASF affected countries.” Zubiri further said.

The Philippines’ swine industry is the sixth biggest in the world.

According to Zubiri, most of these hog raisers are backyard growers whose losses will be devastating if the government failed to contain the spread of ASF in the country.

“Let’s save our hog industry especially the backyard raisers,” he said.

DA Secretary William Dar earlier said 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.

He also stressed that the outbreak is not affecting the entire country, thus, he 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.

Nueva Ecija culls 207 pigs over suspected hog virus

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2019

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines – The Cabanatuan City Provincial Veterinary Office culled a total of 207 pigs following reports of hog deaths in Barangay Dalampang, suspected to have been caused by African Swine Fever (ASF).

“Nangangamatay iyong aming baboy ngayon. Kinuhanan nila ng blood sample at iyong iba namang mga baboy na nangamatay ay ipinalibing namin (Several pigs have died in our place. Blood samples were taken from some of them, while we buried the others),” said Amang Soriano, the head of Barangay Dalampang.

Because of the incident, the PVO advised residents, especially hog raisers in the area, to immediately report cases of pig deaths so that prompt measures can be taken.

The PVO added that they are being extra cautious because it is the season for increased incidence of vector-borne diseases among livestock.

“Maaraw eh, expect mo na sa stress, marami mamamatay ( It’s been warm lately so expect that stress level would be higher which might result in more deaths),” explained Dr. Jun Romero, head of Nueva Ecija Provincial Veterinary Office.

“Marami kaming kinunan na sample. Akala namin ay suspected na (African Swine Fever). Nag-negative naman sa laboratory (We took samples from several pigs because we suspected it was African Swine Fever. Laboratory tests turned negative),” he added.

The provincial veterinary office is waiting for the result of the laboratory tests conducted on the pig blood samples.

If the result turns out positive for ASF, Romero assured they will impose the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the deadly pig virus.

Hog raisers assured, likewise, that they will abide by the protocol should the tests return positive.

“Kami po talagang sumusunod doon sa patakaran ng ating gobyerno na kung saka-sakaling may mga sakit na gumagala sa aming barangay (We really abide by the government regulations, more so if pig virus is present in our barangay,)” noted hog raisers Miguel Ramos. MNP (with details from Danny Munar)

DILG to ask LGUs to lift entry ban on pork products from Luzon

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is set to issue a memorandum circular to encourage local government units (LGUs) to lift their respective bans on entry of pork products coming from Luzon.

The LGUs imposed their own measures to prohibit the entry of pork products in their area in protection against the further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, the DA requested them to allow meat processors to transport their products provided that their products are properly documented, properly processed, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Incorporated (PAMPI) argued that so far, 56 provinces have existing import ban on pork and pork items from the Luzon region.

The group added that the meat processing industry would suffer P55-B loss in profit every year should the local governments not heed lifting the import ban.

PAMPI assured that its products are safe for public consumption, therefore, they are confident that they will not cause the spread of the ASF virus. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DA increases indemnity payment for pigs culled due to ASF to P5,000

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2019

Culled pigs are hauled toward a collection truck after symptoms of African Swine Fever (ASF) were detected in the Pasong Tamo village of Quezon City, Philippines, 03 October 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

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)

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