Lawmaker wants top Filipino veterinarians abroad to help combat ASF
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday urged Malacañang to invite overseas-based Filipino scientists and veterinarians back to the country and help the government combat African Swine Fever (ASF).
In urging Malacañang to make this move, Zubiri noted that many Filipino experts occupy high positions in the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations.
“Since the disease is already here decimating the industry, I urge Malacañang to call as many Filipino scientists and veterinarians back to the country,” he said in a statement.
Zubiri, however, said he recognizes the efforts of the task force organized by Agriculture Secretary William Dar, assisted by the private sector, but noted that “still, we have to more than double our manpower, equipment, and financial resources to address ASF until the whole of the Philippines is declared ASF- free.”
“Pork-eating Filipinos should feel safe eating pork without the lingering fear that they’re eating diseased meat… I urge the government to invite all Balik-Scientists who hold the key in beefing up efforts to combat ASF,” he added.
Zubiri pointed out that for many years, the country has had the lowest records of hoof and mouth disease and that he is “aghast” at how ASF is affecting local hog raisers.
“Together with the Agriculture Committee chaired by Sen. Villar, I have warned that the importation of pork meat, offals, and processed products should stop,” he added.
“Evidently, the concerned agencies were powerless against importers added to smugglers who cared for nothing else but their profits,” Zubiri rued.
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