DAVAO CITY (PIA) - The Department of Agriculture convened government offices Thursday (Oct 3) to gather support as it proposes a Regional Animal Diseases Task Force created thru the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC 11).
DA Assistant Regional Director Marila L. Corpuz said the task force is primarily aimed to gather and consolidate government efforts to synchronize plans and activities especially on the prevention of animal diseases that may affect Davao Region.
"We have gathered various offices to consult them as we finalize this proposal for the creation of a task force," Corpuz said.
The task force is not just limited to addressing the African Swine Fever (ASF) that currently affects some portions of Luzon. Instead, DA 11 opens the task force to prepare contingency measures on other animal diseases.
Corpuz said preventive measures can hardly be handled by the DA. Instead, they need the support and cooperation of other government agencies with their respective mandates to prevent animal diseases to affect the region.
The task force will be chaired by the DA 11 Director, and co-chaired by the Veterinary Quarantine Chief and the Office of Civil Defense Director. Member agencies would include the BOC, CAAP,PPA, PIA, PSA, NMIS, FDA, DSWD, AFP, PCG, LGU, DILG, PNP, DENR, DPWH, NBI, NICA, and private sector representatives from the commercial and backyard livestock raisers and meat importers and processors.
The task force will create teams that will handle surveillance, rapid action, quarantine, census, and IEC.
The proposal will be lodged to the next council meeting of the RDRRMC for adoption and implementation once approved.
Speaking as guest during the Kapihan sa PIA Friday (Oct 4), DA XI Dr. Armie S. Capuyan, stressed the importance of preventive measures especially on the ASF virus which can impossibly be addressed thru vaccination.
"This is a challenge for us to be very careful in our activities especially on the quarantine of pork and processed meat products."
The Philippine Government currently follows certain strategies to address the concern on ASF. That includes banning of pork imports, avoiding swill feeding, blocking entry, educating the people, and submitting samples.
"We encourage those in the hog raising industry to submit samples as laboratory check is the most reliable source of knowing if an animal is infected or not. You cannot just simply guess and immediately say that it's ASF," Capuyan said.
She also urged the buying public to proactively ask for the source of the meat products before purchasing and consuming those. The DA advised that food security can be assured once the product has undergone proper inspection by the appropriate government office. (PIA/Frances Mae Macapagat)