By: Gerome Dalipe
ALARMED by the confiscation of pork products from China at the Kalibo International Airport recently, the Iloilo Provincial Government is beefing up its measure to prevent the dreaded African Swine Flu (ASF) from entering the Province.
Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. has created Provincial African Swine Fever Task Force that will help prevent the entry and spread of the swine fever in the Province.
“The influx of tourist from neighboring Asean countries especially China via Kalibo International Airport found to be carrying pork products for consumption and its proximity to the Province of Iloilo serves as a major threat to the local swine industry and therefore the need to prevent the entry and spread of the African Swine Fever is mandatory,” read Defensor’s executive order.
The Provincial Government also allotted P500,000 as initial funding for the operations of the task force. So far, the hog industry in Iloilo remained unaffected by the swine fever, said Defensor.
In creating the task force, Defensor said that Iloilo is a major market of livestock, poultry and animal by-products whose supply is sourced from within and outside of the Province.
The Department of Agriculture issued a memorandum order dated Aug. 30, 2019, prohibiting the use of food wastes and left-over from domestic and international ports and seaports since swine flu swell without thorough disinfection.
Personnel of the Regional Veterinary Quarantine Services recently confiscated pork products from China at the Kalibo International Airport, which was tested positive by authorities.
“It is a paramount objective of the Provincial Government to protect its territorial jurisdiction from the entry, establishment and spread of African swine fever,” the executive order read.
The swine flu may swell through importation of meat, processed meat, meat by-products, animal feed ingredients, and live animal movement that could endanger the lives and health of the swine.
This could cause serious economic consequences to the swine and related industries, the order said.
The task force is composed of the governor as the chairperson, while the co-chairmen are composed of the provincial veterinarian, provincial administrator, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer, Provincial Legal Officer, provincial agriculturist, and representative from other government agencies.
African swine fever virus is a contagious viral disease impacting only pigs, not people, so it is not a public health threat or food safety concern.
The World Organization for Animal Health, of which the U.S. is a member, considers African swine fever to be a trade limiting foreign animal disease of swine.
(Photo Courtesy of gettyimages.ae)