MANILA - The Department of Agriculture (DA) is upping the game in terms of quarantine measures to stave off an outbreak of African swine fever.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the department is still waiting for the results of the samples it sent to laboratories abroad to confirm if the deaths of hogs in backyard farms were caused by the African swine fever.
"Because that's the confirmatory test results that we need to say there is such a disease," he said
He said the department has put in place a "1-7-10 protocol" to stave off the disease.
"Within the radius of one kilometer, those pigs that are really affected by this disease, cull them...kailangang patayin, i-burn sila, itatapon sila then disinfect the area and then monitor this area," he said.
Dar said they talked to communities in affected areas to cooperate in the department's effort to manage, contain and control the disease.
The department, he added, is providing financial assistance to affected hog raisers.
"That's ongoing. We will also give assistance pag ready na 'yung area ulit, na-disinfect at may observation na wala nang virus doon sa area bibigyan namin ng starting na mga biik para they can continue what they were doing," he said.
He added that city and provincial veterinarians would have to diagnose and issue veterinary health certificate before any pig is slaughtered.
"Kung walang sakit magbibigay, kung may sakit go to the burial ground," he said.
Dar's predecessor, former Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Pinol, banned pork imports from 16 countries hit by the virus for which there is no vaccine.
But he lamented that the department's actions were not enough.
"This time around, I will see to it that we have elevated, proactive response even in areas na wala pa itong nakita namin ay we have now mobilized our regional people, the Bureau of Animal Industry, the hog industry leaders," he said.
Dar, who served the same post under the administration of former president Joseph Estrada, ordered the creation of a crisis management team to tackle the problem. Hog industry leaders are also on board to help, he said.
"Ang naaapektuhan talaga ay 'yung backyard pig raisers, hindi 'yung commercial. Ayaw nilang maapektuhan sila so they should be part of the solution," he said.
He assured the public that there is enough pork supply in the market and that prices remain stable.