African swine fever entry feared | Inquirer News

African swine fever entry feared

By: - Reporter / @kocampoINQ
/ 07:17 AM January 05, 2019

SWINE FLU THREAT Healthy pigs are seen inside a pen in a store selling roasted pigs in La Loma, Quezon City. An outbreak of African swine fever abroad worries local hog raisers.—JAM STA. ROSA

Hog raisers are appealing to the government to implement stringent measures to prevent the entry into the country of African swine fever (ASF) which has spread to parts of Europe and Asia, warning that an outbreak of the disease could wipe out the local hog industry.

Quarantine officers axed


They issued the plea after Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol sacked quarantine officers of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the country’s busiest gateway, for failing to establish protocols against the virus.


“The whole quarantine group assigned at Naia will be relieved… for their failure to comply with an earlier order I issued to institute quarantine protocols to prevent the entry of pork products from areas affected by the African swine fever,” Piñol said on his Facebook page.

“The relief of the whole quarantine team at Naia should send a clear message to members of the Department of Agriculture family that we cannot take administrative directives for granted,” he added.

BAI director Ronnie Domingo said in a press conference that the quarantine officers who were relieved from their posts would be investigated.

The DA has issued circulars banning the entry of imported pork and pork products from countries affected by the virus since the disease began to spread across countries worldwide.

Foot baths

It has also ordered the placement of foot baths and other countermeasures in all entry points of the country.


All arriving passengers will be required to pass through the foot baths.

Domingo noted that the Philippines did not import pork and pork products from any of the 13 countries affected by the virus, including China.

National Federation of Hog Farmers president Chester Warren Tan said that while the agency had adopted measures to prevent the entry of ASF into the country, the problem was with its implementation.

“For the past week we did a survey and there were no foot baths in any of the airports, but we were told that the protocols were now being implemented,” he said.

“We understand how difficult it is for our officials especially as an archipelagic country, we have several entry points. We really need to put countermeasures in place because once ASF enters the country, the industry will find it hard to recover,” he added.

While the virus does not pose any health risk to humans, there is no known vaccine that can prevent it.  The virus has the capacity to destroy livestock production if left uncontrolled.

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About 95 percent of the country’s pork supply is locally sourced, but the ASF poses threat of higher pork prices if local stocks begin to dwindle.

TAGS: Local news, poultry, swine fever

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