Agriculture Secretary William Dar has ordered for the strict implementation of veterinary quarantine measures against African swine fever, in partnership with the local government units and concerned national agencies, following the confirmation of ASF cases in Mindanao.
“I am directing the Bureau of Animal Industry [BAI] and other concerned agencies of the Department of Agriculture [DA] to implement the establishment of the checkpoints on 24/7 operations with disinfection equipment and facilities, including foot baths, in all entry points in Mindanao,” Dar said in a memorandum.
He said there will be mandatory inspection of vessels docking in Mindanao ports with meat products from ASF-affected zones and countries.
Dar said the establishment of 24/7 quarantine checkpoints and mandatory inspection at international and domestic seaports and airports will be done in close coordination with the LGUs, Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Ports Authority.
Checked-in and hand-carried luggage of all incoming passengers from ASF-affected zones and countries will also be thoroughly inspected by DA-BAI veterinary quarantine personnel who will confiscate and immediately destroy all pork products.
Meanwhile, Dar urged the country’s veterinarians to help the DA and LGUs in the strong and sustained implementation of biosecurity and quarantine measures to control ASF and cushion its impact on the hog sector.
Dar made the call during the 87th PVMA Scientific Conference and Convention on Wednesday in Davao City, where he served as keynote speaker.
“We ask you to remain steadfast in your commitment to share and disseminate information, trends and issues in the field of veterinary medicine, both here and abroad, especially with regards to ASF and other traditional and emerging animal diseases,” he told the over 2,000 attendees and guests of the event.
To date, the Philippines culled 230,000 hogs or 1.8 percent of the national swine population of 12.7 million.
Of these, only 15 percent were ASF-infected and the rest healthy but all were culled, as they were within the one-kilometer infected zone, under the “1-7-10 protocol.”
“However, our total culled pigs is minimal compared to other neighboring ASF-affected countries,” the DA chief said.
In its latest report, the World Organization for Animal Health or OIE said Vietnam has culled 5,960,000 pigs, while China had 1,193,000.
The DA, in partnership with the swine industry players and veterinary groups, is considering to modify the prevailing 1-7-10 protocol, decreasing the coverage of the infected zone to only 500- meter radius, and only infected pigs will be culled while the healthy ones will be separated, quarantined, and observed.
“The private commercial farms have assured us that they have enough supply of pork and pork products for the entire 2020,” Dar said.
“We are constantly meeting with key hog industry leaders, who assured us that they are increasing their stocks.”