Fri. Aug 6th, 2021

MANILA – Hogs that are free from African swine fever (ASF) should be properly branded to prevent further contamination and hasten the flow of pork and products in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday.

Duterte said he has asked Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar to put in place measures to prevent the spread of ASF.

“I asked the Secretary of Agriculture to come up with a protocol — how to control. For example, pagka lumabas ‘yan in (when they come out)— those who are declared free of the swine flu, matatakan talaga (should really be marked). So that they can travel,” he told reporters in a chance interview in Malacañang.

He acknowledged that local governments have been strict in the transport of pork and pork products.

“Kasi ‘yung iba ayaw pa ipadaan eh (Because the others do not allow entry). They do not allow the cargos of the pork meat to pass the highways that traverse the local government units, magulo ‘yan (it’s messy),” he said.

Livestock branding refers to hot branding large stock with a branding iron or other techniques which include freeze branding, inner lip or ear tattoos, earmarking, ear tagging, and radio-frequency identification (RFID), tagging with a microchip implant.

Branding of livestock for sale or slaughter is an essential part of monitoring for diseases and chemical residues.

In a television interview, Dar said Duterte will issue an executive order to speed up the movement of pigs and pork products in the country.

Duterte met with Dar, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, and local government officials at Malacañang on Tuesday to discuss efforts to manage the hog disease.  

Earlier this month, he ordered all government agencies and local government units to ensure the “strict” implementation of DA’s nationwide zoning plan.

In Administrative Order (AO) 22 signed on Feb. 5, Duterte directed all concerned government agencies, offices and instrumentalities, as well as LGUs, to “strictly implement and ensure compliance with the ‘National Zoning and Movement Plan for the Prevention and Control of ASF, as contained under DA Administrative Circular No. 12 (s. 2019).”

On Dec. 10, 2019, the DA issued Administrative Circular, which formally orders the establishment of zones across the country, depending on the level of risks of regions in relation to ASF.

The zoning plan is seen as one of the key measures to ensure the total eradication of the ASF that has struck mostly backyard farms in Luzon.

To date, ASF is estimated to have affected more than 20 million pigs in Asia since 2018 and has caused serious economic and production losses in the affected countries. (ia/sovereignph.com/PNA)

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