QC yet to be ASF-free due to underestimation of hogs in Payatas

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2019 05:56 PM

MANILA - Quezon City, Metro Manila’s largest and most populated city, is not yet free from the African Swine Fever after a lone village misdeclared the number of affected hogs in the area, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Wednesday.

Barangay Payatas initially said there were 1,500 pigs plagued by deadly virus, but the city government has already culled around 2,000 hogs, Belmonte told reporters.

The city government needs to cull 2,000 more hogs in Payatas but is already short on funds, she said.

“We underestimated, even the punong barangay, underestimated the number of pigs in his own barangay,” the mayor said.

“This is causing us some problems with regards to financial assistance,” she said.

Affected hog raisers in Quezon City are entitled to receive P3,000 from the city government and another P5,000 from the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“Wala pa kaming nakukuhang tulong mula sa DA,” Belmonte said.

“The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has also offered assistance and we would like to know how these assitances from the national government would be reconciled,” she said.

Barangay Bagong Silangan is about to cull its last batch of hogs, while barangays Tatalon, Tandang Sora, and Pasong Tamo are already ASF-free, the mayor said.

Belmonte said the city government is also on the lookout for hog raisers who are smuggling livestock from an affected barangay to other parts of the city.

Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chair Cynthia Villar said the public should not panic over presence of ASF in the country as this could “destroy” the livestock industry.

“Dapat hindi tayo matakot sa mga ganiyan kasi that will destroy the industry. Dapat we do it with caution,” Villar said.

The Senate will not launch a probe into the spread of the disease to allow the DA to focus on combating the hog virus, she said.