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Batangas City launches 'eat pinoy pork' drive vs. ASF

October 4, 2019


EAT PINOY PORK DRIVE. Batangas City Mayor Mayor Beverley Rose Dimacuha and city officials, Department of Agriculture (DA) 4-A executives, provincial veterinarians and AGAP Party-list Rep. Rico Geron, chief executive officer of the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) as the largest producer of swine in Batangas province, chop the “lechon” (roasted pig) for the launching of “Porktober Fest: Eat Pinoy Pork” campaign on Wednesday (Oct. 2) at the Office of the City Veterinary and Agricultural Services (OCVAS) site. The event is to convince consumers and the public that Batangas' pork and meat products are safe to eat and free from the African swine fever (ASF). (Photo courtesy of Batangas CIO)


BATANGAS CITY – To assure residents here that it is safe to eat pork from the province, the city government, through its Office of the City Veterinary and Agricultural Services (OCVAS) and various swine industry stakeholders, launched on Wednesday its “Eat Pinoy Pork” as part of the “Porktober Fest” campaign.

Mayor Beverley Rose Dimacuha, Vice Mayor June Berberabe, other city officials, Department of Agriculture (DA) 4-A (Calabarzon) regional executive director Arnel de Mesa, OCVAS head Dr. Macario Hornila, AGAP Party-list Rep. Rico Geron, provincial veterinarians and various stakeholders closed ranks to prove that pork and other meat products are safe to eat.

The event drew more than 400 participants for the boodle fight, where “lechon” (roasted pig) and other meat products were among the delicious fare spread on banana leaves at long tables set up in several tents at the OCVAS grounds.

Hornilla said the “Porktober Fest: Eat Pinoy Pork” campaign is an initiative of the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) in partnership with the city government and livestock industry key players to convince the public that it is still safe to eat pork and meat products in the province.

“Hindi dapat matakot na kumain ng karne ng baboy sa harap ng African swine fever (ASF) sapagkat hindi ito nakakaapekto sa kalusugan ng mga tao. Sa pinakahuling ulat, wala pang kaso ng ASF dito sa Batangas City (We should not be scared to eat pork amid the ASF because this does not affect human health. Our latest report is that there is no ASF case in Batangas City),” Hornila said.

“Walang dapat ikabahala ang mga consumers dahil walang magiging epekto kung sakaling makakain ang isang tao ng baboy na may sakit na ito (Consumers need not worry because there is no effect to people who may consume pork which may have been infected with the disease),” City Health Officer Dr. Rosanna Barrion added.

The city government and SIDC embarked on the campaign with a motorcade around the city proper, where they also gave slices of “lechon” to the people on the streets, before proceeding to the converging site for the “lechon” boodle fight.

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Dimacuha also expressed optimism the campaign would restore the trust and confidence of the public, including meat vendors, as the local government is trying to protect the swine industry in the city from the entry of ASF.

“We are closely monitoring and strictly implementing biosecurity measures like the constant upkeep and cleanliness of the pig farms, use disinfectants on piggeries including their transport and equipment in the farms and checkpoints for the entry and exit of pork and meat products to and from the city,” Dimacuha said.

Meanwhile, Geron, who is also the chief executive officer of SIDC, said they are intensifying the preventive and control measures against ASF as the city is the biggest swine producer in Batangas province.

The party-list lawmaker also noted that maintaining the city as ASF-free would be an opportunity to scale up swine production to be the largest supplier in the region.

He said under the contract growing scheme, the SIDC produces around 30,000 to 50,000 swine per year while the coop members also raise around 500,000 pigs in a year.

“Ninakaw ng ASF ang income ng mga mag-aalaga ng baboy. Talagang walang income. Hindi na nila maipagbili sa presyong gusto nila, mababa pa ang demand sa merkado (ASF has stolen the income of the hog raisers. There’s really no income. They cannot sell the swine at the right price because the market demand is low),” Geron said.

He said the city-wide campaign also allays fear among the swine industry stakeholders where some coop members are temporarily suffering from income loss and maybe their livelihood.

“That’s why we are helping them through extensive information and education campaign on preventive measures and control against ASF. We are promoting pork as a very good source of protein and the city government ensures pork and meat products are safe to eat,” the lawmaker said.

He also called on meat vendors to adjust or lower their prices on pork in the market to encourage consumers to still buy safe meat.

He and leaders of the livestock industry here also appealed to the media to refrain from broadcasting unverified reports on ASF to prevent panic and allay the public fear of the animal disease. (Maroe T. Genosa/PNA)

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