CEBU CITY, Sept. 2 (PIA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) here has appealed for public cooperation in measures implemented by DA and the provincial government of Cebu to keep the province free from the African Swine Fever.
Officials from DA-7, its Quarantine Office, and the Provincial Veterinarian's Office recently sat down with Philippine Information Agency (PIA-7) during the Association of Government Information Officers-PIA 7 Forum to discuss updates of their ongoing operations in preventing ASF from affecting the swine industry in the province.
Records show there have been 20 countries tagged as infected with ASF, and this has led to the temporary ban of importation and distribution of all processed pork meat products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Some of these are the Philippines' neighboring countries in Asia, such as China, Hongkong, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
ASF is a deadly virus for pigs leading to 100 percent mortality among hogs once infected.
There has not been any vaccine and medicine against ASF to date.
During the forum, Melquiades Ibarra, Chief of Agriculture and Information Section of DA-7, said that people should do their part in helping prevent the spread of ASF.
He added that people who want to buy meat products such as pork must ensure that they are certified by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).
"In that way, we will know that the pork we buy in the market is safe and have not been infected," he said.
Another way to practice food safety by consumers is to buy from accredited meat suppliers and/or look for Veterinary Certificates displayed in stores.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mary Grace Requitillo, Veterinary Quarantine Officer at the Port of Cebu, emphasized that hog raisers should refrain from swill feeding as these may contain bacteria and viruses deadly to the pigs.
Administrative Order (AO) No. 4 issued by DA on August 20, 2019 states that part of the quarantine measures is to advise different backyard raisers not to feed kitchen refuse or swills to hogs.
The order also calls for swine farmers to practice foot bath, regular disinfection, vaccination, and deworming of farms to observe Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP) and biosecurity measures.
Requitillo said they are also giving information educational materials in strategic places to increase public awareness about ASF. (fan/pia7)