After the confirmation of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Davao City and Davao Occidental, Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office 6, together with Bureau of Agriculture Industry (BAI) and local government units (LGUs), are providing additional measures to protect the multi-billion hog industry in Western Visayas from ASF.
Remelyn Recoter, DA 6 Regional Executive Director, sought support from the LGUs through the provincial veterinarians to take part in preventing and protecting the P10 billion hog industry from contamination, as discussed during the meeting of Regional Advisory Committee on Animal Disease Control Emergency (RACADCE) last February 6 in Aklan. Recoter added that 80% of their hog farmers are backyard raisers, another reason why the government needs to protect the sector.
LGUs are in-charge of monitoring piggeries and banning swill feeding to keep the disease from spreading, while LGU technicians are responsible for the inventory of animals to easily manage the hog population if ASF arises in their municipalities.
DA, BAI, and provincial veterinary offices are also at work with LGUs in tightening the 24/7 security in animal quarantine checkpoints as well as monitoring the dealers and retailers of pork and pork products to ensure that the products are inspected and have seals from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS). This also includes the inspection of pork products in seaports and airports. The DA Central office was asked to release airline and port announcements to inform the passengers regarding the ban of pork and pork products in their LGU destinations.
RACADCE came up with a decision to request for an amendment of Administrative Circular No. 21 that involves prohibiting the importation of fully cooked pork products to protected areas that might cause the entry and spread of ASF.
X-ray machines will be in full operation to monitor the baggage of outgoing passengers from Batangas port. For companies and shippers of meat products, BAI also applies strict implementation standards in the issuance of shipping permits.
Aklan and Negros Occidental also issued an amended administrative order that bans pork and pork products from Mindanao, specifically from Davao region. An Incident Command System was already established in Aklan for the management of ASF in the province. Due to international flights offered in Aklan, authorities have been busy checking and confiscating pork and pork products in both air and sea operations, Recoter said.