Zubiri asks Gov’t agencies to act fast on ASF spread

Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri calls on the Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Customs, airports officials, the National Meat Inspection Service and other government agencies to move faster to contain the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF). Zubiri made the call amidst the admission of the Department of Agriculture that ASF caused the deaths of swine in Bulacan and Rizal provinces resulting to culling of 7,000 hogs in those two provinces.

"I told you so as early as March of this year that we should impose a total ban of pork importation from abroad," Zubiri said, referring to DA and other government officials during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. It will be recalled that Sen. Zubiri presided over the hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food on the ASF on March 20, 2019.

The country's swine industry is the sixth biggest in the world. Most of our hog raisers are backyard growers whose losses will be devastating. "Let's save our hog industry especially the backyard raisers," said Zubiri with serious concerns on the effect of the ASF on the country's hog industry if the government failed to contain its spread in the country.

"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. 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."

"In that hearing napagkasundo natin ang Department of Agriculture at ibang ahensya ng gobyerno at ang mga lider ng industriya ng hogs sa bansa na paigtingin ang pagbabantay sa ating mga airports at pantalan para hindi makapasok sa bansa ang ASF. 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?", Zubiri said.

"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.

Source: Senate of the Philippines