The African swine fever has spread to a town in Mindanao six months after an outbreak was declared in Luzon, the town’s chief executive said in an order.
The municipal government of Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental in a Jan. 31, 2019 order confirmed that about 1,000 pigs have died of ASF in several barangays, namely: Linadasan, North Lamidan, South Lamidan, Calian, Mabuhay, Lawa, Nueva Villa, and Baluntaya.
Mayor Michael Maruya of Don Marcelino town ordered the police, barangay officials, and other concerned agencies to make sure that animal quarantine checkpoints are in place 24/7. A temporary lockdown has been recommended by the regional agriculture office and the provincial veterinarian.
The ASF outbreak hit the Philippines in July last year, spreading to several cities in Metro Manila and some provinces in Luzon, including Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Cavite, Tarlac and Bataan.
Late last year, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero ordered goods found in a container shipment at the Manila International Container Port destroyed after the goods tested positive for ASF.
The Office of the Collector in MICP also issued an alert order for the other shipments consigned to a company which maintains its warehouse in Kawit, Cavite.
Customs lawyers are readying the filing of a criminal case against the company and will recommend for the revocation of its brokers’ licenses.
“Given the circumstances [Wuhan coronavirus) we have today, every entry point in the country must be on its toes to stop any viruses or bacteria from getting to our shores. Our mandate is to protect our people and that’s what we intend to do,” Guerrero said.
Last Wednesday, the authorities found out that the imported products are contaminated by ASF, a highly contagious viral disease endemic in domestic and wild pigs.
The examination was witnessed by the Bureau of Animal Industry, the National Meat Inspection Service, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Customs Enforcement and Security Service, and CIIS.
Dr. Reynaldo Quilang, chief of Veterinary Quarantine Services-MICP, made the recommendation that all contents of the container be condemned and buried at the importer’s warehouse compound.
“This is a message to all importers. We are not going to tolerate misdeclared goods or the importation of food products that will put our industries in jeopardy. We’ve already lost so much because of the swine flu. Our ports are not open for more of these products,” Guerrero said.
Imported meat products will be allowed in the country if the importers have secured Phyto-Sanitary Permit from the port of origin, otherwise the meat will be confiscated, and will be condemned.
The prohibitions extended to bringing in plant and animal products without Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Permits.
ASF is spread easily between members of the swine family through direct contact with the infected animal or contaminated objects such as vehicles and equipment.
Although it cannot be transmitted to humans, global meat production has declined after an outbreak of African swine flu in many parts of the world. In October last year, at least 13 provinces in the Philippines have declared an ASF outbreak, prompting local governments to stop the selling of pork in markets, restaurants, and fastfood chains.
The Malasiqui local government in Pangasinan on Friday declared a state of calamity because of the effects of ASF on its hog raisers. It is estimated that the country’s hog industry is losing $20 million a month from the outbreak of swine flu. ASF kills hogs in as fast as seven days after being infected.
In September and October 2018, cases of pork meat products contamination have been recorded in Korea and Japan through dumplings and hotdogs products.