20K pigs culled due to ASF: DA chief

MANILA Some 20,000 pigs have been culled due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said on Monday.

"Today, a total of 20,000 heads of pigs were depopulated from the previous 15,000, most of which came from Bulacan province," Dar said in a press briefing before the boodle fight at the Manila City Hall spearheaded by Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, various hog raisers, and stakeholders including Dar.

Out of the 20,000 pigs depopulated, Dar said only one-third were found positive with the ASF virus.

"But because of the 1-7-10 protocol, they (two-thirds) have also been depopulated," he said.

Under the 1-7-10 protocol, 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.

The government also conducted surveillance and monitoring within the 10-kilometer radius.

The 1-7-10 protocol is being implemented in Rodriguez, Rizal (Barangays San Isidro, San Jose, Macabud, Geronimo, San Rafael, and Mascap, and San Mateo Slaughterhouse); Antipolo (Barangay Cupang); Quezon City (Barangays Silangan and Payatas); and Guiguinto, Bulacan, which recorded ASF-positive hogs.

Dar also explained the incident involving a trader in Pangasinan who transported about 30 pigs from Bulacan.

"It's good that the provincial (Pangasinan) government early on put in place all checkpoints necessary so when they were accosting the trader, wala silang maipakita na dokumento (they failed to present any documents). Nag-alangan agad ang provincial government. (The authorities became suspicious) and decided to hold the truck containing 30 heads of pigs," he said.

Dar said almost half of the 50 pigs confiscated that were supposed to enter Pangasinan province were tested positive of the ASF virus when the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) conducted laboratory examination.

Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino III has already ordered authorities to intensify security in entry points, to prevent the entry of ASF-infected hogs in the province.

Espino said the provincial government will charge hog raisers that are involved in bringing in ASF-infected hogs to the province.

Meanwhile, Dar thanked the Manila City mayor for his immediate action in eliminating illegal meat in the city.

"Let me take this opportunity to thank the good Manila mayor for his actions in regard to confiscating illegal meat that have been brought here in the city. This is in connection on the issue on the presence of ASF in the country," he said.

"If we have local government leaders like Mayor Moreno, then the problems affecting the hog industry, in particular containing and controlling the ASF, will be a great milestone. Because once you are able to confiscate, then these have to be properly burned and buried so that there's no spread of the virus," he stressed.

Rosendo So, chairman of the Samahang Industriya ng Magsasaka (SINAG), also thanked the Manila City Mayor on its drive against illegal meat and for supporting the hog industry.

"Yung pagkumpinsa sa mga illegal meat na nakapasok sa Manila ay malaking bagay dahil makakatulong ito sa local industry (To prevent the proliferation of illegal meat in the market will greatly help the local hog industry)," he said.

For his part, Domagoso said the city government will "utilize all necessary authorities within our powers to apprehend any corporation, individual, or even uniformed personnel who will participate in this illegal importation, illegal reselling or putting it back to the market (recycled) as this will affect the local industry and the farmers and hog raisers".

He also warned businessmen not to accept agricultural products that are illegally acquired, noting he will not hesitate to close down their establishments and never be allowed to do business in Manila. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency