Community quarantine slows down ASF infection – BAI

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines — Meat traders in the Balintawak market are complaining of slow sales amid strict quarantine measures imposed in public markets due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Vendor Cindy Baligao said the price of pork meat has increased by P40 to P50 per kilogram and P20 per kilogram for chicken.

She said the huge increase in prices makes it difficult to sell their products at a price acceptable to customers. 

“Hindi namin maidispose ng maayos yung presyuhan kasi sobrang taas na, [We cannot properly dispose of the products because of the very high price],” Cindy said. 

But according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), there is no shortage in the supply of pork and chicken.

BAI Officer-In-Charge Ronnie Domingo said traders may have been compelled to add the cost of transport to the market price of pork because they source them from areas not affected by African Swine Fever (ASF). 

“Kapag nag-byahe iyan, iyong gastos niya sa freight, sa transport, idadagdag niya yan sa pagbebenta nya nung retail ng karne. Kaya siguro nararanasan nila ang pagtaas ng presyo ng baboy sa lugar na iyon [During transport, the traders will pay for the freight charges, transport charges which they will add on the retail price of meat. That’s probably the reason for the increase],” Domingo said. 

On a positive note, Domingo said, the ASF cases in the country dropped by 10% in April and May when community quarantine orders were implemented.

This development was due to the strict protocols at checkpoints placed in borders by the local government units (LGU). 

“Dahil na-control mo ang pag-galaw ay mako-control mo din yung pagkalat ng sakit [By controlling the movement you were able to control the spread of disease],” Domingo said. 

“Sa Luzon naman, napansin natin overall ay pagpasok na nung ECQ ay bumaba na may drastic decrease nung mga reports na meron daw silang mga ASF cases [In Luzon, there was a drastic decrease in reports of ASF cases while the ECQ was in effect],” he added.

Meanwhile, BAI has changed its protocol in culling ASF-infected pigs. 

Instead of culling all pigs within the one-kilometer radius, the agency limited the culling only in the main area where the infected pigs are. 

Pigs in nearby areas from the infected site will only be placed under observation. 

As for the supply of chicken, the country’s supply is still enough at 200 per day until the end of the year. 

Overall, around 291,000 pigs or only about two percent of the country’s overall supply of swine or pig livestock were culled due to ASF. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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