Agri exec says we have enough pork for Christmas


By Genalyn Kabiling, Manilla Bulletin (Philippines) 

November 6, 2019


The country has adequate supply of pork for the Christmas season despite the cases of African swine flu (ASF) in some places in the country; the Department of Agriculture assured the public Wednesday.


Dr. Reildrin Morales, head of the crisis management task force on ASF, said the spread of the African swine flu is being “managed” as authorities stepped up the quarantine measures.


Of the 12.5 million hog population in the country, he noted that around 70,000 pigs have been culled as part of the anti-ASF campaign.


“Yes. Kung kukumpyutin ninyo po ano,kahit doblehin ninyo iyong figure ng na-cull natin against the total population, sir, siguro wala pa iyang one percent ‘nong ating total population [Yes. If you compute, even if you double the figure of those culled against the total population, it won’t reach one percent of the total population],” Morales said during a Palace press briefing when asked if there will be enough pork supply for the holidays.


He assured the public that pork remains “safe to eat” but reminded them to take some precautions when purchasing the product.


“When buying pork in the market or meat shop, always look for the seal and certification issued by the National Meat Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture,” he said


To curb the spread of ASF, Morales said the agriculture department intends to implement a national zoning plan to identify areas that are protected, under surveillance, and free from the ASF threat. He said they intend to consult with the farmers, business sector and other stakeholders before the implementation of the zoning plan.


“It can be managed and we’re managing it; we’re trying to control it. And then of course, iyong eradication, it will come later,” he said about the spread of ASF.


Morales also appealed anew to hog raisers and traders not to slaughter and sell sick pigs, saying they will be penalized with jail term and penalty.


He noted that authorities will continue to inspect meat processing plants to prevent the spread of the disease.


He also urged hog raisers to report to proper authorities any sign of disease or death of pigs in their areas. They should also refrain from swill feeding particularly those from hotels, restaurants and airlines.


“Any backyard or illegal slaughtering or use of meat from infected pigs will contribute the spread of the disease and will only result to further deaths and losses to the 260 billion swine industry that support millions of Filipinos in terms of livelihood and job,” he said...