Gov’t raises aid to P5K per ASF-infected culled pig

MANILAPresident Rodrigo Duterte has approved the increase of financial assistance for backyard raisers whose hogs were culled due to the African swine fever (ASF) from PHP3,000 to PHP5,000 per head.

Previous recipients will thus receive an additional PHP2,000 per culled pig.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar, in a statement, said the President and fellow Cabinet members during their October 11 meeting, also approved other measures to contain and prevent the spread of ASF to adjoining areas in Luzon. These include:

-- The imposition of lock down procedures in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, cordoning validated areas as ASF-infected zones for easier movement control of pigs and pork products; and

-- Apprehension and filing of cases against hog raisers and traders caught selling or buying and transporting live hogs, slaughtering ASF-infected pigs, and selling ASF-tainted pork products.

The DA chief earlier appealed to traders not to buy ASF-infected hogs, and also backyard raisers not to sell ASF-sick pigs, noting such malpractices are punishable by law.

We must step up our surveillance and monitoring of transport of live pigs as well as pork products, Dar said.

ASF poses no threat to human health, although it is very infectious among pigs and can easily spread from one farm to another if not properly managed. The disease has no known vaccine yet.

Aside from the newly-approved measures, the DA has been advising the implementation of strict biosecurity measures and the 1-7-10 protocol in ASF-affected areas, in tandem with local government units, the military, police, swine industry groups, and other government agencies as part of their combined efforts to effectively manage, control and contain ASF.

These include frequent cleaning and disinfection of farms, transport vehicles, and improved husbandry practices and production systems, such as prohibition on swill feeding.

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.

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

Consumers are also advised to buy pork only with the seal of the DA-National Meat Inspection Service and from reputable meat shops.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) appealed to the DA, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to craft policies and regulations as one body.

While the DA, the DOH and the DTI have drafted rules and regulations to govern the dynamics of the businesses relevant to this, we are seeing the difficulty in getting their rules and directives followed --because final implementation lies in the LGUs (local government units), Jerome Ong, Pampi Vice President, said in a statement.

While the meat processing industry understands the need for the LGUs to protect their constituencies, they urged that these rules and restrictions be based on science and on the expert advice of internally recognized Animal Health Organizations.

At present, Ong said 46 out of the total 81 provinces, which are about 60 percent of all provinces in the country, have imposed restrictions on the movement into their constituencies of Luzon-based pork processed meats.

With the shipping ban of pork and pork products imposed by LGUs in the country, the hog industry foresees a PHP18-billion business setback in the last quarter of the year.

The group also sees inadequate supply of pork and pork-based products for Visayas and Mindanao this Christmas holidays.

While Cebu and Cagayan de Oro have their own ham production capabilities, their total production will not be able to supply the needs of the region unless the ban on Luzon-produced pork-based processed meats is rationalized, it said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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