PH to restrict trade flow as measure against ASF

Published February 20, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Philippine government will restrict the trade flow in Mindanao to prevent the deadly animal disease African Swine Fever (ASF) from killing more pigs.

The move includes setting up of 24/7 checkpoints in all entry points in the region and the mandatory inspection of all vessels docking in ports.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) already notified the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about the ASF cases in 20 areas in Mindanao which had so far resulted to more than a thousand dead pigs.

The areas in the region with cases of the deadly hog virus are Linadasan, North Lamidian, South Lamidian, Calian, Mabuhay, Lawa, Nueva Villa, Baluntaya, Lapuan, Linadasan, North Lamidian, South Lamidian, Calian, Mabuhay, Lawa, Nueva Villa, Baluntaya, Lapuan, Don Marcelino, and Davao Del Sur.

As this happened, Agriculture Secretary William Dar issued a circular to strictly implement veterinary quarantine measures in the region and for local government units (LGUs) to tighten its coordination with concerned national agencies.

He also directed the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and other concerned agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to implement the establishment of the checkpoints on 24/7 operations in all entry points in Mindanao.

The checkpoints must be equipped with disinfection equipment and facilities, including foot baths.
There will also be mandatory inspection of vessels docking in Mindanao ports with meat products from ASF-affected zones and countries, Dar said.

The establishment of 24/7 quarantine checkpoints and mandatory inspection at international and domestic seaports and airports will be done in close coordination with the LGUs, Bureau of Customs and Philippine Ports Authority.

Meanwhile, checked-in and hand-carried luggage of all incoming passengers from ASF-affected zones and countries will be thoroughly inspected by BAI veterinary quarantine personnel, who will confiscate and immediately destroy all pork products.

It was just early this month when ASF managed to creep into the backyard farms of Mindanao.
As part of its measures, the DA is now implementing a nationwide zoning plan intended to prevent the spread of ASF.

The national ASF zoning plan and guidelines classify the country into various zones with respective movement protocols. This is a strategy recognized by the OIE.

As of now, more than 200,000 hogs already died and were culled due to ASF. This is nearly 2 percent of the 12.7 million swine population of the Philippines.

Visayas is the only remaining island group in the Philippines that remains free from ASF.

Rolando Tambago, president of Central Visayas Pork Producers, said that a lot of provinces in Visayas like Negros and Iloilo already closed their doors on pork products coming from the entire Mindanao, and Cebu is planning to do the same, following the ban it imposed on pork products coming from ASF-hit Davao region.

This, according to him, will ensure that the island group will remain free from ASF now that both Luzon and Mindanao already caught the virus.