By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has stepped up quarantine measures to prevent the spread of African swine fever in other parts of the country following an outbreak in Davao Occidental.
In the Cabinet meeting held last Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said they have placed Davao Occidental on lockdown and advised other regions to “elevate” quarantine moves to prevent the contamination of hogs and pork products.
“Secretary of Agriculture William Dar said that the African Swine Fever virus has reached Davao Occidental. Per Secretary Dar, the province is on lockdown and the pigs are being culled out with the government paying for the hogs as it has paid P900 million already,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement Wednesday.
“Elevated quarantine measures are being worked out by the Department of Agriculture and is advising regions to elevate quarantine measures,” Panelo added.
Authorities earlier placed Davao Occidental under a state of calamity after African swine fever affected thousands of hogs in the province. The entry and exit of all hogs and pork products have been temporary banned to prevent the spread of the disease.
It was the first case of ASF in Mindanao, several months after the outbreak in Luzon.
Thousands of pigs were culled by agriculture authorities since the ASF hit the country last August. Cases were reported in Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and a number of areas in Metro Manila.
President Duterte previously directed government agencies to coordinate, as well as to adopt policies and institute measures to manage, contain and control the transmission of ASF in the country. Concerned government offices have also been directed to provide assistance, alternative livelihood and skills training to those affected by ASF.