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Davao City, Philippines

ASF becoming an economic nightmare

September 27, 2019 - Friday 12:09 PM by Lovely Carillo

Article Banner Image LOCKED UP. The owner of this pig pen in Mintal, Davao City uses a steel gate with a lock to prevent his valuable hogs from escaping. The Davao City government has banned the entry of all live pigs and pork products to ensure that it remains free from the African Swine Fever (ASF). KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

DAVAO CITY -- The city government of Davao has responded to the national government’s call for stricter policies to prevent the entry of the African Swine Fever in their respective areas of responsibility. 

Mindanao Development Authority chair Secretary Emmanuel Piñol had earlier called on local governments to issue executive orders prohibiting entry of pork into their political territories and swill feeding by backyard hog raisers. 

Piñol, who previously conducted a series of consultations with stakeholders of the Mindanao hog industry, said local chiefs should seriously confront the threat of African Swine Fever by issuing an executive order preventing entry of live hogs, pork and processed meats in Mindanao. 

“I call on all mayors and governors to issue an executive order to prevent entry of the African Swine Fever in Mindanao,” Piñol said. 

The MinDA chief added that the move to ban entry of live hogs and pork products “should not be seen as a trade issue that impedes free flow of food but a temporary proactive action to address a serious quarantine concern.”

"This is intended to protect the multi-billion worth hog industry which provides income and livelihood to thousands of farming families,” he said. 

In a meeting with representatives of Mindanao hog raisers on September 24 here, the group asked to Piñol to consider Mindanao as a special quarantine zone indicating Mindanao as ASF free, yet needing the necessary organizational mechanisms to maintain the status. 

“We hope mechanisms to be in place and quarantine officials immediately deployed in entry points like ports and airports, following issuance of the executive order the soonest time,” Davao Hog Raisers Association president Eduardo So said.

Meantime, the group said it considers swill feeding as a form of threat for the entry of ASF. 

Swill feeding is the practice of feeding hogs food wastes from hotels, restaurants, airlines, and docked ships which may contain infected meat. The prohibition on swill feeding can be exercised by the powers of the local executives, Piñol said.

“The governors and mayors are in better position to stop swill feeding, the local governments can issue ban of hogs import and prohibition of swill feeding altogether through an executive order, with stiffer penalties for deterrence,” Piñol said.

BANNED. Pigs and pork products now banned in Davao City due to ASF. DA Photo


Davao ban on pigs, pork products

Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Duterte ordered early this week, through an executive order, banning the entry of all live pigs and pork products in the city to ensure that it remains free from the ASF.

The order came amidst the continued spread of ASF in many countries causing massive economic losses and social dislocation.

“The temporary ban applies to all live pigs, pork and pork-related products and by-products, whether fresh, frozen, processed or cooked, including but not limited to frozen boar semen, from the entire island of Luzon and the other ASF-affected areas,” Sara said.

The order also included the prohibition of feeding of raw swill or food wastes, known as “lamaw,” to pigs in Davao City.

The Department of Agriculture Crisis Management Task Force on Swine has already officially declared the presence of ASF in the country early this month.

“There is a possibility that the African Swine Fever may reach the city in such proportions that would affect the food safety and food security of the city,” Sara said.

“There is a need to protect the city’s hog industry from the potential threat of ASF and from any possible economic loss,” she added.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already warned all food business operators against importation, distribution and sale of the banned products from affected countries about the ASF as early as May this year.

Sara urged the swine industry stakeholders to be vigilant in their areas of responsibilities. 

“All are hereby alerted and directed to prepare protective measures to prevent the spread of the swine disease into our city,” she said. With reports from MinDA and CIO

Measures to prevent entry of ASF in Davao City

  • Strict biosecurity and good animal husbandry practices in the farms for swine raisers

  • Prohibition on the feeding of raw swill/food wastes ("Lamaw") to pigs

  • Use of commercially available feeds or self formulated feeds using conventional or non-conventional feed ingredients sourced from areas that are not affected with ASF

  • Reporting of any suspicious incidence of mortality in pigs to the City Veterinarian's Office

  • Warning to hotel and restaurant operators and other food establishments and food wastes collectors on the proper disposal of table left-overs or food wastes/swill

  • Non-distribution of food wastes to hog raisers

  • For livestock dealers, ensure that all animals for transport and slaughter are accompanied by necessary documents such as Veterinary Health Certificate or Animal inspection Certificate and Shipping Permits

  • Meat vendors/suppliers and meat processors are also strictly discouraged from selling meat and processed meat that are clandestinely or illegally slaughtered, undocumented, or sourced from illegal markets.