By Madelaine B. Miraflor
While there have been declining occurrence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country, the Philippine government agreed to keep the transport ban of specific pork products like hotdog and longganisa from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said on Thursday that the Philippine government was already able to “manage” the outbreaks of ASF in the country as well as elevate the quarantine measures and the monitoring of affected areas.
“We’re not saying that ASF is over or has been fully contained. ASF is still there, but we already managed it and the occurrence of the disease has been declining,” Dar said.
According to him, the National Task Force for ASF had its second major meeting on Wednesday and during the event, it was agreed upon that certain pork products like longganisa, tocino, and hotdog from ASF-hit Luzon will still not be allowed to enter Visayas and Mindanao.
“What we will only allow is the fully cooked and canned processed products,” Dar said.
As part of their efforts to prevent ASF from entering their borders, some provinces in Visayas and Mindanao like Bohol and Cebu already have existing bans on processed pork products coming from Luzon.
While not dangerous to humans, ASF is highly contagious and can causes up to 100 percent fatality in pigs.
Over the past months, Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI), the country’ largest group of meat processors, have been arguing that such transport bans are not based on science and will result to billions of losses to their industry.
Meanwhile, the country’s national zoning plan to control the spread of ASF has already been put in place and is now in full force.
Right now, the total number of barangays affected by ASF stood at 612 across eight provinces namely Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Tarlac, Rizal, Cavite, Pangasinan, and Metro Manila.
The number of pigs that were culled and died due to ASF also rose from 70,000 to 147,334 as of December.
ASF was first detected in August in Rizal province and according to Dar, the province has already been tested negative for the swine disease for the last three months.
The estimated losses that the local hog industry has incurred due to ASF already rose to P4 billion since August, Dar said.