By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has ordered a tight watch on the food waste collection and disposal process of various establishments in the city as fears gripped that this could have been the most probable main source of African Swine Flu (ASF) contaminated meats that end up as swill feed (kanin-baboy) for backyard hog raisers.
In an interview, Belmonte said this assessment was very logical as experts have pointed to swill feed as the number one possible source of ASF.
“This is the number one source of possible ASF. Iyong mga airline food o galing sa mga hotel, imported ang baboy na ginagamit diyan. Maaaring infected ang mga sources na iyan (The airline food or those from the hotels, they use imported pork. They may be infected). We have to make sure na hindi sila magpakain ng kanin-baboy sa kanilang mga alaga (We have to make sure that they do not use swill feed for their pets),” Belmonte said.
Also, Belmonte traced the presence of dead pigs suspected to be ASF infected floating in the city’s waterways as another cause of the ASF outbreak.
Earlier, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) confirmed that 35 out of 45 blood samples from pigs in Barangays Bagong Silangan and Payatas in Quezon City were tested positive for ASF.
In another preemptive measure, Belmonte has ordered the QC Task Force Solid Waste Collection, Cleaning and Disposal Services Management to compel city-contracted haulers to directly bring the kitchen and food waste to the Rizal Provincial Sanitary Landfill.
This measure will prevent kitchen and food wastes from being sold as swill food to backyard hog raisers.
“Ipagbabawal na ang pagkakaroon ng transfer zone. Diretso na sa dumpsite sa Montalban ang kanin-baboy (Having a transfer zone is now prohibited. This swill feed should go straight to the dumpsite in Montalban),” said Belmonte, adding that those caught violating the directive will be severely punished.
In the transfer zone, haulers reportedly segregate kitchen and food waste that are sold to hog owners, which they turn to swill feed.
In compliance with Belmonte’s directive, Richard Santuile, Action Officer of the QC Task Force Solid Waste Collection, Cleaning and Disposal Services Management ordered all city-contracted haulers to collect and immediately dispose of such waste to the Rizal Provincial Sanitary Landfill.
“All personnel of city-contracted haulers are prohibited from selling or redistributing collected kanin-baboy,” Santuile said in his memorandum dated Sept. 19, 2019, adding that strictest penalties will be imposed on any hauler or its personnel.
“City-Contracted Haulers are also instructed to hold meetings for you personnel to ensure maximum dissemination of this memorandum and to submit pictures of such activities to the Task Force for proper monitoring,” the memorandum stated.
In a separate letter, Santuile asked the Business Permits and Licensing Department for their assistance to direct business establishments within the city to dispose its kitchen/food waste only to city-contracted and Metro Manila Development Authority-accredited haulers.
Through this, Santuile said this ensures that food and kitchen wastes will be disposed straight to the landfill and not recycled and used for swill feeding.
During their meeting with Belmonte, Department of Agriculture (DA) and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) officials commended her preemptive move, saying they agree with her decision that garbage should not be fed to animals.
To recall, DA Assistant Secretary and spokesman Noel Reyes said that quarantine and depopulation procedures in Barangays Bagong Silangan and Payatas in Quezon City has started last Wednesday with the 1-7-10 protocol being set in motion.
The DA has identified 11 barangays positive of having the ASF outbreak which include Barangays Bagong Silangan and Payatas.
Reyes said the other barangays that were tested to be ASF positive are Barangays San Isidro, San Jose, Macabud, Geronimo, San Rafael, Mascap, San Mateo slaughterhouse all in Rodriguez Rizal, Barangay Cupang in Antipolo City and Barangay Pritil in Guiguinto, Bulacan.