The Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said the spread of African swine fever is being “managed,” despite the confirmation that more hogs in the National Capital Region tested positive for the virus.
Reildrin Morales, head of DA Crisis Management Team on ASF, said the spread of ASF within the Philippines is “slower” compared to other countries.
“At this point, ASF is still managed. The level of spread is what we call managed,” he said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
So far, the DA has identified Rizal, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Cavite as areas with ASF.
Some hogs in Malabon, Caloocan, and Quezon City also tested positive for the virus.
On Monday, the skinless longganisa and hotdog of Pampanga-based Mekeni Food Corp’s tested positive for ASF as well.
Even before the results were announced, the company pulled out selected products and suspended operations at its pork processing facilities.
The DA has also formed a zoning plan in a bid to contain and eradicate the highly contagious disease more than two months after it arrived in the country.
“ASF can be controlled, managed and eradicated,” Morales said.
The government has culled 70,000 pigs of total 12.5-million hogs nationwide since August, Morales said, but he assured the public that there will be no pork shortage come Christmas season where demand for it is expected to increase.
On a global scale, a quarter of the world’s domestic pigs have died this year as a virus rampages across Europe and Asia.
The government has been implementing the 1-7-10 protocol, where ASF-afflicted pigs and others within the 1-kilometer radius are culled.
Those within the 7-kilometer radius have limited movement, while pigs in the 10-kilometer radius are strictly monitored.
The DA said that smuggled pork products tainted with ASF caused the introduction of the fatal hog disease in the country, as it made its way to backyard farms as swill.
ASF is not harmful to humans but fatal to pigs.
Reporting to the World Organization for Animal Health on Nov. 4, the Philippines said ASF has recorded 24 outbreaks of ASF.
The previous report dated Oct. 30 cited only nine outbreaks.