Senators call for heightened protocols vs. ASF

MANILA Two senators on Thursday urged the government to heighten its precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the African swine fever (ASF).

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to be vigilant and enjoin schools in raising awareness and to exhaust all sanitary measures to protect students from consuming ASF-positive products.

Mahalagang mag-doble ingat ang mga paaralan lalo na't mahilig ang mga bata sa ganitong klase ng mga produktong positibo sa ASF. (It is important for schools to be extra careful especially since kids like to eat processed meat products, which were tested positive for ASF), Gatchalian said.

Sa mga feeding program na isinasagawa ng DepEd, halimbawa, dapat siguruhin ng ating mga guro na gumagamit sila ng mga malinis at mapagkakatiwalaang mga produktong ipakakain sa mga bata (For the feeding programs conducted by DepEd, teachers should ensure that they are using clean and trusted products to feed the children), Gatchalian said.

The senator cited reports that processed pork from China tested positive for ASF.

The Department of Agriculture's (DA) Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) also confirmed that skinless longganisa and hotdog from Mekeni were tested positive for ASF.

Gatchalian also advised DepEd to involve parents in efforts to raise awareness on sanitary practices and preventive measures.

While schools play an important role to protect our students' health, it is important that we also extend our efforts at the household level, Gatchalian said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, said all sectors in the hog industry must cooperate with the DA as it implements measures to prevent the spread of ASF.

Pangilinan said all concerned sectors must abide by the following protocols: surveillance and quick response, quarantine checkpoints, and culling.

On reports of oversupply of pork in the country, Pangilinan suggested a suspension in the pork importation and start buying local.

"This will be a big boost to local hog-raisers, many of whom are also farmers seeking to increase their income through hog-raising. We must explore all possible means to help our backyard hog raisers as they bear the brunt of losing their source of income, he said.

Pangilinan also highlighted the vital role of media, as they are instrumental in spreading correct information over the outbreak and lessen the public's distrust of uninfected pork products. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency