P82M for ASF prevention released

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    Close watch. The trade department said pork prices have been stable at P110 to P120 per kilogram. (Photo by RHOY COBILLA)
    Close watch. The trade department said pork prices have been stable at P110 to P120 per kilogram. (Photo by RHOY COBILLA)

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it has released P82.5 million to the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bureau of Animal Industry to cover the funding requirements for the African Swine Fever (ASF) preventive measures.

    Of the amount, P31.8 million will be for maintenance of security for the detection of meat and meat products at the international airports, while P27.7 million will be for testing of samples of meat and meat products.

    The DBM said P17.6 million will be for surveillance and monitoring, while the remaining P5.4 million will be for awareness campaign and capacity building.

    The DA said earlier this week 14 out of 20 blood samples of pigs from the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan sent to a laboratory in the United Kingdom have tested positive for ASF.

    ASF is a severe and highly contagious viral disease among domestic and wild pigs, with symptoms including high fever; depression; loss of appetite; redness of ears, abdomen and legs; vomiting; and diarrhea that may lead to death.

    The virus spread among pigs by direct contact with an infected pig, ingestion of contaminated material (such as food waste, feed or garbage), or by contaminated fomites or ticks or blood-sucking insects.

    It is not fatal to human beings but is a big threat to the inventory of more than 12 million hogs with a value of P260 billion as it still has no known cure.

    As part of the Philippine prevention strategies, the BABES strategy has been implemented since the start of the outbreak in China.

    Specifically, the measures in the strategy include banning pork imports, avoiding swill feeding, blocking entry of hand-carried meat, educating the people, and submitting lab samples.

    Economic managers earlier said the presence of ASF in the country will not have a significant impact on inflation.

    “It will not have a significant impact. Inflation is not going to spike for sure,” Ernesto Pernia, socioeconomic planning secretary, said.

    Carlos Dominguez, finance secretary, for his part said while the ASF confirmation is a “concern,” there are substitutes which the public can consume.

    “It’s a concern but there are substitutes to pork such as poultry, beef, and fish. I am sure the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and DA are on top of this,” Dominguez said.