Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

ASF info caravan kicks off, urges against transport of pork and pork products

Author: DA-AFID | 5 April 2023

With the goal of disseminating accurate and relevant information on the African Swine Fever (ASF) and encouraging the general public to take precautions against the spread of ASF in the country, the Bureau of Animal Industry – National African Swine Fever Prevention and Control Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA-BAI-NASFPCP) formally kicked off the “Ang Bagong Hamon kay Super Pig” Tour at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) on April 4.

The event introduced to the public its two mascots who will serve as beacons of awareness in the midst of the ASF outbreak in the Philippines—Dr. V and Super Pig, the latter being a comic icon created in 1999 for awareness campaigns on foot-and-mouth disease.

“Sini-symbolize ni Super Pig ‘yong robust swine industry po natin na tinutulungan po nating makabangon. Si Dr. V, sinisimbolo naman po niya ang responsableng beterinaryo na may integridad, nagre-report ‘pag mayroon siyang nakitang sakit ng baboy o iba pang sakit, at nilalabanan ang ASF,” shared DA-BAI Deputy Program Coordinator Dr. Samuel Joseph Castro.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) described ASF as “a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs” with no available vaccine, causing a 100 percent mortality rate. Although deemed not dangerous to humans, the virus can survive on surfaces, pork, and pork products; hence, “human behaviours can play an important role in spreading this pig disease across borders if adequate measures are not taken.”

Dr. Castro reported that there are currently 11 regions, 21 provinces, 54 municipalities and cities, and 137 barangays with active ASF cases.

“Since ang mga Pilipino po ay sanay kumain ng lechon or pork products, nagkakaroon tayo ng scarcity kapag ang ating mga lugar na nagba-backyard piggery ay nagkaroon po ng ASF. So kung magsasara po itong mga lugar na ‘to, wala na pong production ng pork products natin. ‘Pag kakaunti po ang production, ibig sabihin tataas po ang [presyo ng] bilihin,” said Councilor Marie Angelie Mijares-Co, who concurrently serves as Officer-in-Charge of the Parañaque City Special Services Office.

To fight the impacts of the ASF and to revitalize the country’s swine industry, the DA updated its National Zoning and Movement Plan for the Prevention and Control of ASF, enforced strict surveillance and investigation, intensified coordination with local government units, and implemented related initiatives under the Administrative Circular No. 2 dated May 6, 2022.

The Department also launched its twin programs: the Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF) to strengthen monitoring and control against ASF at the barangay level as well as the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) to hasten hog repopulation in ASF-affected areas.

Dr. Sammy Santos of the Parañaque City Veterinary Services Office expressed the Office’s support for the DA’s efforts to prevent the spread of ASF and other communicable diseases, “Sinisiguro po nating ligtas ang lahat ng karne na binebenta dito po sa lungsod ng Parañaque.”

The NASFPCP, along with mascots Super Pig and Dr. V, roamed around the PITX and handed out information campaign materials on ASF to travelers, vendors, and passersby.

Aside from dissuading travelers from transporting pork and pork products, the tour also reminded the public to buy the said products from meat dealers with Meat Inspection Certificate (MIC) and from meat importers with Certificate of Meat Inspection (COMI)—both of which are issued by the DA – National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

Farmers and hog raisers present during the event were also prompted to always ensure cleanliness in their farm and to regularly monitor the health and condition of their pigs.

“Nandito po kami ngayon para ipaalala po sa ating lahat na lahat po tayo ay mayroong magagawa laban sa ASF—kung ikaw po ay farmer, livestock inspectors, mga kasamahan po natin sa City Veterinary Offices, mga official po natin sa national government at local government, at napakaimportante, lahat po tayo ay consumers—lahat po tayo ay may responsibilidad at may magagawa laban sa ASF,” Dr. Castro concluded.

The Super Pig Tour, held in collaboration with the Parañaque City Veterinary Services Office, PITX, and the DA – Agriculture and Fisheries Information  Division (DA-AFID),  is set to visit various markets and locations nationwide to inform the public about ASF and to promote practices and initiatives that can help ward off the threats of ASF in the Philippines. ### (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)



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