By Madelaine Miraflor
From a compensation of only P3,000 per pig, local backyard raisers will now be paid P5,000 for each pig the Department of Agriculture (DA) will cull to prevent the deadly African Swine Fever (ASF) from spreading in certain areas.
Over the weekend, the DA said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation of Agriculture Secretary William Dar to increase the financial assistance given to backyard raisers whose hogs were culled due to ASF.
This means previous recipients will receive an additional P2,000 per culled pig.
To contain the spread of ASF, the government is required to implement the 1-7-10 protocol in the affected backyard farms. This means that within one kilometer (km)-radius of infected farms, there would be quarantine checkpoints to prevent the movement of all live pigs, pork, and pork-related products, and that all pigs within the area must be culled.
For swine farms within the 7-km radius, the government must conduct surveillance procedures, test animals to determine the extent of the infection, limit animal movement while in farms within the 10-km radius, and mandatory disease reporting is required.
A few days ago, some groups and lawmakers expressed disappointment over the small financial assistance the DA has been giving to backyard raisers that were affected by the ASF.
This is making backyard raisers reluctant to surrender their pigs that are showing manifestations of the virus, said AGAP Partylist Representative Rico B. Geron.
He suggested an indemnity payment of P10,000 to P20,000 each pig.
Meanwhile, Dar said the President also approved other measures to contain and prevent the spread of ASF to adjoining areas in Luzon.
This includes the imposition of “lock down” procedures in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga and cordoning validated areas as “ASF-infected zones” for easier movement control of pigs and pork products.
Moving forward, the DA will also be allowed to apprehend and file cases against hog raisers and traders caught selling or buying and transporting live hogs, slaughtering ASF-infected pigs, and selling ASF-tainted pork products.
Aside from Pampanga and Bulacan, other areas with ASF are Quezon City, Antipolo City, and Rizal.
There have been approximately 30,000 pigs that have so far died and were culled due to ASF, which accounts to less than one percent of the country’s total swine population of 12.8 million as of July.