DAVAO CITY, Philippines – At the height of the continuing threat on the possible outbreak of the feared African Swine Fever (ASF) on the swine industry in the country, Philippine authorities are now applying strict preventive measures, a top agriculture official in Davao region said.
Regional Veterinary Quarantine Officer of Department of Agriculture in Davao Region Dr. Ma. Teresa Bacayo, told reporters on Friday, January 18 that the agency is now implementing stringent measures based on the ASF Prevention Plan of the government dubbed as “BABES”.
“BABES” stands for Ban pork imports, Avoid swill feeding, Block entry at international ports, Educate our people, Submit samples.
Bacayo pointed out that the ban on importation of domestic and wild pigs, their meat, meat products and by-products from ASF affected countries is already in place through the issuance of administrative orders and memorandum circulations of the DA.
She also advised the local swine raisers in the area to food swill feeding.
Swill feeding or the feeding of food wastes locally known as “lamaw” is now prohibited as stipulated in an administrative order issued by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol, she added.
Bacayo also assured the public that the agriculture department is closely watching the ports in the country from the entry of pork products from ASF affected countries.
She added that it is also important to educate the people, especially the stakeholders of the swine industry in the country, the backyard raiser, and the consumers, informing them that the Philippines is free from ASF.
She also urged swine raisers and backyard raisers to submit samples to their office for diagnostic procedures.
Submission of samples, Bacayo added, will determine the occurrence of the disease in the country.
Bacayo is optimistic the government will be able to prevent the occurrence of such disease in the country as the “BABES” program of the agriculture department is already in place.
Davao region safe from ASF
Bacayo also told reporters that country, including Davao region, is still free from ASF.
This despite the recent confiscation made last January 8 by authorities of assorted imported meat from China and Hongkong suspected to be contaminated with ASF.
She emphasized that the confiscated meat were already destroyed.
“Our country as a whole is free from ASF and we have all our efforts in prevention and control in place,” Bacayo said.
The efforts to prevent an outbreak of ASF in the country is being carried out not only by DA but also with the support of various government agencies, said DA-XI Disease Monitoring and Surveillance Section Head Dr. Armie Capuyan.
Groups, such as the Backyard Raisers Association led by its chairperson Felimon Santander are also extending their full support to the efforts of the government, especially on the aspect of information dissemination.
Capuyan also urged Filipinos to buy locally produced pork products instead of those imported in support to the local backyard raisers.
“We have lots of pork products here, so we might as well patronize our local production,” Capuyan added.(With reports from Jiah Cadiz and Aileen L. Sampang, HCDC Interns) (davaotoday.com)