ASF outbreak contained in four areas, Agri chief says

Dead pigs continue to be found floating in rivers and creeks in Metro Manila and Bulacan, even as the Department of Agriculture declared that the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak has been “managed, contained and controlled in Rizal and Bulacan.”

READ: More dead pigs dumped in Marikina

ASF outbreak contained in four areas, Agri chief says
ASF SCARE. Buyers in Commonwealth Market switched to buying fish and chicken after the African swine flu scare gripped Metro Manila,  triggering the demand for non-pork commodities to increase and the price to go up. Lino Santos
The department said Monday an outbreak of ASF has been declared only in four areas, covering the municipalities of San Mateo and Antipolo City in Rizal province and Guiguinto in Bulacan, based on confirmation tests released last week.

READ: Hog raisers need P26 billion to contain ASF

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the “ASF outbreak [is] managed, contained and controlled in Rizal and Bulacan.”

The ASF episodes in the affected areas “may be considered an outbreak but not an epidemic,” the department statement added.

“Specifically, ASF was already contained in Barangay Pritil, Guiguinto, Bulacan; and in several barangays in Rodriguez, San Mateo and Antipolo, Rizal—and not in the entire country,” it added.

“Around two-thirds or 65 percent of the (hog-raising) industry is contributed by small backyard raisers,” the Agriculture chief said.

Some 7,416 pigs in the one-kilometer radius in ASF areas in Rizal and Bulacan have already been depopulated, following the 1-7-10 protocol of the government to manage, contain and control the spread of the disease, the department said.

“For instance, one ASF-infected slaughterhouse in Brgy. Gitnang Bayan 1, San Mateo, Rizal, has already been closed, cleaned, and disinfected,” the agency said.

It assured the public, however, that such closures would not affect the supply and prices of pork.

The agency has partnered with the local governments, police and military, and the private sector to monitors activities and imposes stricter biosecurity and quarantine measures to control the spread of ASF in other areas.

The hog raising industry is already losing P10 billion due to ASF, the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines said Monday.

In an interview, Nicanor Briones, PPFPI vice president, said while hog raisers are now selling a kilo of pork from P127 per kilo to P115 to P118 per kilo, a kilo of pork from backyard raisers can only sell a kilo of pork at P110.

“If we used to sell a pig weighing 100 kilos for P12,700 before, now it is priced at P11,500. A P12 difference per kilo would mean a lot to us. That is a loss of P1,200 per pig,” he said.

“If one can sell at least 1,000 heads a day, that is really something,” he added.

He said the request of the hog raising industry for a “conservative” subsidy of P5,000 per head for every dead pig due to suspected ASF infection “is not enough to offset their losses and initial capital.”

He said there might be unreported deaths if the government fails to extend financial help to hog raisers.

“How can one expect to report deaths of one’s pigs if the government could not give financial aid?” he said.

As in Metro Manila and Rizal province, carcasses of swine have beenfound floating the river system of the City of Malolos, with reports of dumping in the towns of Guiguinto and Plaridel.

A pig found Sunday afternoon in Barangay Bulihan was chopped into several parts and its rotting smell caught the attention of residents living in the area.

Bulihan barangay chairman Crisanto de Jesus immediately ordered it turned over to the city veterinary personnel for proper disposal.

On Friday, at least 10 piglets were also found floating in a waterway in Barangay Tikay, also in Malolos. While police are investigating the case, residents said they believed ASF has spread among backyard hog raisers.

Large-scale piggeries in the towns of Sta. Maria and Pandi have not yet confirmed whether the infestation has already reached epidemic proportions. Sales of pork in public markets in the province have reportedly been decreasing.

Malolos Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian has ordered the city veterinarian to investigate the cause of the successive swine deaths in several barangays of the city in coordination with personnel of the Bureau of Animal Industry.

Meanwhile, the National Meat Inspection Service in Region 12 said it has tightened its monitoring against the entry of pork meat products from other regions, especially from areas that could have possibly been affected by the ASF in Luzon. 

Myrna Habacon, NMIS-12 director, said Monday that they assigned enforcement teams to monitor the movement of live hogs and pork products in the region’s border areas as well as the local markets.

Habacon said members of Bantay Karne teams are strictly monitoring the selling of meat and slaughtering of animals.

The enforcement teams are tasked to ensure that meat products sold at the public markets and other outlets are safe and processed at accredited slaughterhouses, she said.

Habacon said all animals, especially hogs, processed in slaughterhouses or abattoirs should have proper meat inspection certificates.

ASF outbreak contained in four areas, Agri chief says
ASF SCARE. Buyers in Commonwealth Market switched to buying fish and chicken after the African swine flu scare gripped Metro Manila,  triggering the demand for non-pork commodities to increase and the price to go up. Lino Santos
“We have already advised the meat cutting plants that if they have doubts or find animals with suspected diseases to immediately isolate them and report the matter to their supervisors for proper action,” she said. With PNA

READ: ASF-control areas widen

READ: Dreaded virus zaps pigs

Topics: Department of Agriculture , African swine fever , William Dar , Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines
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