By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government has assured on Saturday the dreaded African swine flu (ASF) disease that caused widespread public fear for months has been contained in the locality since November 13.
This assurance by Mayor Joy Belmonte was based on the month-long negative blood test results from hogs tested in the city, and no reported ASF-related deaths in the past 30 days.
With this assurance, the city’s pork vendors and hog raisers have heaved a common sigh of relief as their sales are expected to peak up this Holiday Season after several months of huge losses due to the ASF scare.
Belmonte cited that ASF was contained due to the concerted efforts of the public and concerned government agencies but asserted that there remains a big challenge for them to stop the return of the dreaded disease.
“This experience teaches us the lesson that transparency and allowing the people to participate in solving our problems brings good, rather than hiding the problem from them,” Belmonte said.
However, Belmonte clarified “the month-long disinfection process continues and given no new cases will be completed by the end of the year’’.
So far, the Quezon City government has distributed around P16.9 million worth of financial assistance to backyard hog raisers affected by ASF.
Belmonte said around 5,824 pigs were culled since the first ASF incident from floating dead pigs was reported in Barangay Silangan.
Upon Belmonte’s instruction, the local government extended P3,000 cash assistance for every pig voluntarily surrendered for culling by backyard hog raisers in infected areas.
By February 2020, the Quezon City government will prohibit backyard piggeries and poultries in all barangays through an Ordinance, according to City Veterinarian Dr. Ana Marie Cabel.
“Na-meet na natin ang lahat ang barangays and they already know about this proposed Ordinance,” said Cabel, adding that the local government has allowed backyard raisers to sell or dispose of the pigs in time for the Christmas season.
Belmonte has instructed the Small Business Development and Promotions Office to assist backyard hog raisers in starting alternative livelihood programs.
“We will endorse these hog raisers to the Small Business Development and Promotions Office for alternative livelihood programs,” Belmonte ended.