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52K pigs culled as more areas affected with ASF: DA

by Lilybeth Ison
October 19, 2019

(PNA file photo of Agriculture Secretary William Dar)


 The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday said around 52,000 pigs were culled as more areas were declared to have been affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).

On the sidelines of the ongoing Philippines-India Trade Consultations held at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, DA Secretary William Dar said there are about 22 areas in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Rizal, and in Dasmariñas, Cavite where hogs were infected by the ASF virus.

Dar said the DA is still implementing the 1-7-10 protocol wherein the government culls all pigs within the one-kilometer radius of the affected farm, while the movement of pork and pork products within seven kilometers is limited.

It also conducts surveillance and monitoring within the 10-kilometer radius.

He also confirmed there are already four areas cleared of ASF -- Barangays Bagong Silangan, Tatalon, Tandang Sora, and Pasong Tamo, all in Quezon City.

The DA chief also noted that there is one barangay in Palayan City that have been earlier affected by the ASF virus but was already cleared.

"ASF can be controlled if everybody cooperates with the government," he said.

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On the reported selling of pork and pork products online, Dar said this should be prohibited.

"Dapat hindi mangyari yun (It should not happen). We have to tell the authorities, show us and we will confiscate those sales," he said.

"What we are implementing are related to food safety. We will monitor (the reported online selling of pork and pork products). The laws are clear. These are meat products that have something to do with food safety, (so) relevant laws on food safety will have to be implemented," he noted.

Dar said local government units (LGUs) "have their own reasons" on the issue that some LGUs defy the order of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to allow the entry and sale of processed meat products that contain pork as ingredient in all provinces as long as they have certification or approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"We are on top (of the situation) but we coordinate with Departments concerned. The National Inter-Departmental Task Force will be meeting next week. we will harmonize everything," he said.

When asked why the ASF continues to spread to other areas, the DA chief admitted that there are "lapses" as some backyard raisers "are keeping their pigs, they still sell their produce even if it has been contaminated with ASF virus."

"Another reason is that some hog traders transport their products from one area to other areas affected with ASF. This one of the major problem we encounter now," he added.

As such, Dar appealed to all backyard hog raisers, commercial hog raisers and hog traders "to be properly advised that if you do this illegal trade, you will be brought to court."

"The Department of Justice (DOJ), as part of the Cabinet decision, will now lead in bringing these hog raisers to court if they don't cooperate with the law," he said.

Dar also appealed to hog traders not to take advantage of the situation.

"Let's not transport hogs from affected areas. We're all Filipinos. Let's protect our PHP260 billion hog industry. Many will lose their source of income. Please, let's stop this," he said. (PNA)

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