‘No chance for Phl to contain ASF’
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Efforts of the Philippines to contain the African swine fever (ASF) may be futile as even developed countries continue to suffer from the disease, according to an industry source.

“That is already endemic. No country has been able to control it. At this point, I am not optimistic (it will be contained),” the source, who asked not to be named, said.

“Other countries who have more R&D (research and development), more facilities and laboratories have not done it,” he said.

The source noted that even China has yet to find a cure for ASF.

However, other countries, particularly in Europe, were able to somehow contain the disease only because the areas that were initially hit were not major production areas.

“In Belgium and other European countries, they were able to contain it. They have international quarantine procedures which are really high,” the source said.

“Unlike here in the Philippines, Central Luzon, a major production area, was hit. Mindanao was hit as well. It’s just that whatever you do at local level, it’s difficult to stop it (from spreading),” he said.

So far, about 216,000 hogs have already been culled with 15 provinces affected.

These include Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Tarlac, Rizal, Cavite, Pangasinan, Davao Occidental, Davao del Sur,  Kalinga, Benguet, and parts of Metro Manila particularly Quezon City, Caloocan City and Malabon.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary William Dar continues to urge local government units and the private sector to unite against ASF.

“It is important to understand the potential impacts of ASF, so we can prepare this early our alternative plans and recovery plans,” Dar said.

“The ASF outbreak could impact adversely on the country’s more than P400-billion hog industry and ancillary industries if no action is done,” he said.

Dar challenged the private sector veterinarians to volunteer and join forces with the DA’s ASF Crisis Management Task Force in the monitoring and surveillance, information dissemination, and planning on how to control the spread of ASF.

“Our joint efforts was further reinforced when President Duterte signed Administrative Order 22, and met with more then 1,500 local chief executives and officials of national government agencies, enjoining them to harmonize efforts and strictly enforce the DA’s national zoning and movement plan for the prevention and control of ASF,” Dar said.

The plan serves as guide on the movement protocols and trading of pork and pork products to control the spread of the ASF virus.

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