MANILA - The government is confident that it can contain the spread of African swine fever (ASF) as more pigs get infected with the virus.
Malacañang said Monday the country's agriculture chief William Dar is "competent" enough to address the disease which threatens the country's hog industry.
"I'm sure the Secretary of Agriculture is competent enough to handle this situation. He hasn’t said anything about not handling it," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
"I understand they are taking measures to stop it," he said.
Government earlier confirmed ASF cases in Bulacan, Rizal, and Quezon City.
Over the weekend, authorities announced that the virus has reached the northern province of Pangasinan after 15 pigs reportedly infected with ASF were delivered there.
The Department of Agriculture has been implementing the 1-7-10 protocol in areas with ASF -- the culling of all pigs within a 1-kilometer zone of infected piggeries and controlling the movement of live pigs within a 7-kilometer radius, as well as requiring strict monitoring within a 10-kilometer radius.
ASF 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.