The Department of Agriculture (DA) said no new cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been reported but has yet to declare as ASF-free areas where outbreaks occurred.
“…It is a good indication that occurrence of the outbreaks is tapering down. Even with this development,) the zoning plan will further be disseminated to local government units (LGUs),” said DA Secretary William Dar.
Dar told reporters in a briefing in Quezon City yesterday said the National Task Force on ASF in a meeting last Wednesday will leave to the Office of the President, the prerogative to implement the zoning plan in containing the disease through an executive order.
This will ensure the strict implementation by LGUs.
Dar said implementation of the zoning plan to contain ASF in the country will be further intensified even if the disease has not affected regions in Mimaropa, Visayas and Mindanao.
“They should still be provided information equal with those affected provinces,” Dar added.
In the zoning plan, longganisa, tocino and hotdog products from Luzon are still not yet allowed to be traded in Visayas and Mindanao. The only pork products that were allowed for entry in the entire country are fully cooked or canned pork products.
He said the task force also agreed to implement color coding to signify the degree of containment of the disease in a particular area.
Dar said the DA is cautious in declaring several areas to be free from the disease even if various tests already found them to be negative of ASF for more than 90 days.
“Even if we have the confidence that the disease is already contained in some areas, we still want them to raise other types of livestock for the meantime. We didn’t say that ASF is already cleared because it is still there but what we are saying is that there are areas where the disease is already contained,” Dar said
The DA said the local hog industry has incurred P4 billion losses from ASF from the start of the spread of the disease in mid-August, resulting from the culling of more than 136,000 pigs.