MANILA—The Department of Agriculture on Monday blamed smuggled pork products from China as responsible for the spread of the African swine fever (ASF) in the Philippines.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said illegal shipments from China in October that were declared as vermicelli and tomato paste were found out to be pork products contaminated with ASF.
"'Yong mga food waste from hotels, restaurants, even the airlines, 'yong mga food waste nila ay dinump sa Rodriguez, Rizal. At may nagkolekta ng swill feeds at ipinakain sa baboy. Doon nag-umpisa," he said.
Dar said they are coordinating with the Manila City government and National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) if they will pursue legal charges against those behind behind the shipment.
Meanwhile, the DA is also preparing an ASF zoning plan aimed at curtailing the spread of the disease.
The Visayas and Mindanao will be declared as free zones where meat products can be send anywhere, said Dr. Reildrin Morales, director of task force on swine diseases.
The Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Bicol Region will be declared as surveillance zones, he said.
Meanwhile, there will be limited access of pork products in the market declared as infected zones, Morales added.—Report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News