Former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol criticized Tuesday his successor William Dar for allegedly engaging in what the former dubbed a “blame game” over an outbreak of African Swine Fever that prompted the killing of 7,000 pigs in the country.
Dar claimed Monday that possible cases of the disease, which has no cure and vaccine, were reported as early as May, some three months before he took office and before the outbreak of African Swine Fever in parts of Rizal and Bulacan provinces.
“I don’t know why it was not revealed. Last Aug. 5, there was no invident report yet, but there was informal feedback on observations of sick pigs,” Piñol told dzMM in an interview beamed nationwide.
Piñol said the claim of ASF cases in May showed “an utter lack of knowledge of the characteristic of the virus.”
According to him, the virus had an incubation period of four to 19 days and could decimate a hog population in 48 to 72 hours.
“This means that if indeed the ASF was already present in the country in May, by August when Sec. Dar took over the DA, it should have already wiped out the hog population among backyard farmers in Central Luzon,” he said in a Facebook post.
The Manila Veterinary Inspection Board, meanwhile, assured the public that it was safe to consume pork amid reports of ASF outbreaks in provinces near Metro Manila.
Manila VIB chief, Dr. Nick Santos, however, said their office remained on “high alert” to prevent the spread of ASF among animals in public markets, cold storages, ports and backyard hog raisers so they continuously inspect them.
Santos reported that the VIB had been inspecting the public markets in Manila’s six districts since Sept. 1.
He advised the consumers to be vigilant when buying meat by asking for the appropriate meat inspection certificates which must be displayed by the vendors.
When buying frozen meat, consumers must look for a certificate of meat importation, Santos added.