More pigs culled as Philippines fights African swine fever outbreak

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 16 2019 07:50 AM | Updated as of Sep 16 2019 02:46 PM

MANILA -- (UPDATE) Local authorities culled more pigs and prepared charges against those dumping dead hogs in sewers as the Philippines moved to contain an outbreak of African swine fever, officials said Monday.

In Quezon City, one of Metro Manila's most populous, 50 pigs within the 1-kilometer radius of a barangay where some hogs tested positive for ASF were culled to prevent the spread of the disease, Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

City officials will also dismantle piggeries since backyard hog raising is considered illegal in the city, Belmonte said.

"Bilang mayor ng local government hindi natin pwedeng hayaan na wait and see lang. Kahit weak or strong strain pa yan, we cannot just allow na may virus tayo here in the city," Belmonte told reporters.

(As mayor, we can't be just 'wait and see.' Whether it's a weak or strong strain, we cannot just allow this virus in the city.)

In Marikina City, Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said he would file charges against those behind the illegal dumping of dead pigs in Marikina River, which violated the Clean Water Act and Sanitation Code.

"Di naman nila kasalanan 'yung namatayan sila. Ang kasalanan dun 'yung maling pagdispose nitong mga patay na katawan ng baboy. May proper procedure 'yan, binabaon nang malalim, dini-disinfect para di kumalat ang virus," he told radio DZMM.

(It's not their fault their livelihood died, the mistake there was the wrong disposal of these dead pigs. There's a proper procedure: you bury it deep and disinfect it so the virus will not spread.)

Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Monday told ABS-CBN News that the ASF outbreak was not yet an epidemic as authorities were in control of the situation.

"Kaya nga tayo nagpapa-cull ng mga baboy para hindi kumalat," he said.

(That's why we're ordering the culling of pigs so that it will not spread.)

Bureau of Animal Industry Director Ronnie Domingo on Monday confirmed the presence of ASF in the following areas:

    • Barangay San Jose
    • Barangay Macabud
    • Barangay San Isidro
    • Barangay San Rafael
    • Barangay Mascap
    • Barangay Cupang

Malacañang said Monday the Department of Agriculture was prepared to respond to the outbreak.

"If there are isolated cases in one place then they will take care of that," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

The agriculture department confirmed the ASF outbreak after 7 areas in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan were found to be affected with the virus.

African swine fever causes high fever, loss of appetite, hemorrhages, and death among domestic and wild pigs. It does not pose a health risk to humans.

The Philippines currently has 12 million hogs in its inventory and the industry is worth roughly P260 billion, Dar said.

-with a report from Reuters