MANILA, Philippines – Culling operations against further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) continues in infected areas, but according to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the number of positive cases of ASF infections has already dwindled.
So far, the Department has culled around 70,000 pigs since the outbreak of ASF started.
The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) clarified, however, that only 30 percent of the said number contracted the pig virus.
Majority of the culled pigs were within the one-kilometer radius from the infected site so they have to be slaughtered as per DA protocol.
“Kaya po siya dumami para maiwasan ang pagkalat, (More pigs were culled to prevent further spread of the virus,)” explained Dr. Ronnie Domingo, Director of DA-BAI.
“Pati ang mga katabi o posibleng nahawa pinapatay na din (Pigs in nearby area which possibly contracted the virus were also culled),” he added.
Domingo noted that the incidence of ASF infection in the Philippines is smaller in scope than that in Vietnam where at least 5.8 million pigs were culled.
Based on the agency’s data in previous months, ASF cases in the country are declining.
Meanwhile, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) questioned how around 7.6 million kilograms of pork from Germany slipped pass Customs’ screening despite the existing import ban.
SINAG President Rosendo So added that canned meat from ASF-infected countries were allowed entry into the Philippine market.
“[The] Bureau of Customs should explain,” So said.
One reason also why hog raisers conceal their animals from authorities is due to the delay in government’s granting of financial assistance.
“[About] 99.6 percent ng ating industriya ay hindi infected (About 99.6% of our industry is not infected),” So said.
“Pero bakit ang nangyari ay yung ibang mga backyard ay ayaw i-surrender yung mga baboy? Dahil yung DBM mahinang magrelease ng pera, (But why backyard raisers refuse to surrender their pigs? It’s because the DBM delays the release of cash assistance),” he added.
So noted that 70 of 81 provinces in the country already have regulations in place regarding the entry of pork and pork products into their respective areas from ASF-infected municipalities. — MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)
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