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Robredo suggests sealing off CamSur, Bicol to hog trade amid ASF scare

/ 06:57 PM February 21, 2020
Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo. INQUIRER.net file photo / Noy Morcoso

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) should consider temporarily sealing off Camarines Sur or even the whole Bicol region from the hog trade to avoid the spread of the African swine flu (ASF), Vice President Leni Robredo said on Friday.

Robredo said this is because pork products entering Camarines Sur, which can contract the ASF, may not be really intended for its towns, but rather for other areas in nearby provinces, thus speeding up the spread of ASF.

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“Kasi masyadong porous iyong mga boundaries natin, considering na daanan siya. So iyong checkpoints, napakahalaga. Iyong pag-check ng lahat na mga binebentang mga baboy, napakahalaga,” she said in an ambush interview after attending a program in Naga City.

(Our boundaries are so porous, considering that it serves as a passageway.  So the checkpoints are very important.  Checking the pork products is very important.)

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“So ito, iyong pakiusap lang natin, DA, kasi under ito sa kaniyang jurisdiction, na hindi lang sa CamSur iyong i-seal at the borders, pero pati siguro iyong buong Bicol Region, considering na ang dami talagang dumadaan sa atin na hindi naman sa atin iyong end result,” she added.

(This is our request for DA, because it is under their jurisdiction, to seal the borders not only in CamSur but also the whole Bicol region, considering that a lot of products move through the province that may not be really dropped here.)

DA officials confirmed on Thursday that dead pigs in Bombon tested positive for ASF, forcing town officials to cull or segregate, and possibly kill at least 250 hogs within the one-kilometer radius of the affected farm.

ASF cases have been noted in the Philippines since 2019, which forced hog raisers to cull their pigs, even if there is no scientific evidence stating that human beings can be affected by the ASF.

Other neighboring provinces like Albay have implemented measures like the creation of checkpoints to ban the entry of meat that came from ASF-affected areas.

As of now, the whole province of Bicol was placed under a red alert status due to the issue.

According to Robredo, local government units within Camarines Sur and its nearby provinces should coordinate to prevent ASF from spreading further from one hog farm to another.  She also admitted being worried for Naga, Camarines Sur’s capital and top trading center, as Bombon is only three towns away.

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“So iyong Naga, naglabas na siya ng, parang, executive order […] mag-set up ng mga checkpoints para sa mga pumapasok na mga baboy, iyong pag-istrikto sa mga baboy na puwedeng tanggapin sa abattoir, iyong constant monitoring sa mga nagtitinda ng mga baboy,” Robredo explained.

(So the whole Naga has already released an executive order to set up checkpoints to monitor the entry of pigs, to strictly monitor the pigs that are accepted in the abattoir and the pork products being sold.)

“Pero ito kasi, kahit gawin ito ng Naga, dapat iyong mga karatig-LGUs may ganoon din na klaseng measures, kasi iyong pinakahabol natin ngayon na may confirmed case na dito sa probinsya, papaano mako-contain. So ito talaga, kailangan ng cooperation ng lahat,” she noted.

(But here’s the case, whatever Naga does, the other LGUs should do it as well because we are after the containment of confirmed cases in the province.  So we need the cooperation of everyone.)

Edited by JPV
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TAGS: African Swine Flu, ASF, Bicol Region, Bombon, Camarines Sur, DA, Department of Agriculture, Naga, Office of the Vice President, OVP, Philippine news updates, Vice President Leni Robredo
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