By Chito Chavez
After 11 pigs from Barangay Bagong Silangan in Quezon City tested positive for the African Swine Flu (ASF) virus, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city government was taking all precautionary measures, and was acting swiftly to prevent the spread of infection to other areas.
As standard protocol during an animal disease outbreak, Belmonte said hogs within the infected zones (Oriole Extension and Area 5) or within a one-kilometer radius are automatically culled to prevent the ASF from infecting other animals in nearby areas.
She explained the culling of pigs from various illegal backyard raisers in Barangay Bagong Silangan started on Sunday (Sept. 15).
As of 4 p.m. on Sunday almost 50 pigs have been culled.
Even prior to the positive test results conducted by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), the city government had already ordered the gradual phase out of piggeries within the city in keeping with its land-use plan, which does not contain any zones for agricultural purposes.
“Nevertheless, the local government will give financial aid and livelihood assistance to all affected piggery owners,’’ Belmonte said.
To prioritize the containment of ASF in Barangay Bagong Silangan, Belmonte has sought the help from the QCPD to station more checkpoints within the one-kilometer radius of both ground zeros (Oriole Extension and Area 5).
Belmonte noted the City Veterinary Office will intensify its monitoring of major public markets (Commonwealth, Balintawak, Mega Q-Mart and Novaliches) and slaughterhouses to prevent entry of ASF-infected meat and double dead meat, known as “Bocha”.
“In addition, the local government is already undertaking the inventory of piggeries in the city for strict monitoring and compliance with existing protocols and procedures,’’she added.
The city government has set up plans to educate piggery owners about the nature of this disease and how to prevent it.
“We assure residents that the local government is on top of the situation and doing everything it can to ensure that the pork being sold in our markets are safe for human consumption,’’ Belmonte concluded.