200K reward offered for info on floating dead pigs in Marikina River

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    THE Marikina city government yesterday offered a P200,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest of those responsible for the dumping of 58 dead pigs in the Marikina River.

    Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said the cash reward will be given to anyone who can give “conclusive” information to the identity of the person or group responsible for the incident.

    The reward money, Teodoro said, will not be taken from the coffers of the city government but will come from his own pocket.

    The city government has already coordinated with the Rizal provincial government in identifying the origin of the dead pigs. Toedoro said the pigs could not have come from Marikina since backyard hog-raising is prohibited in the city.

    At the same time, Teodoro said water samples have been taken by a joint team composed of representatives from the city government and the Laguna Lake Development Authority from barangays Tumana, Nangka, and Calumpang for testing for possible African swine flu contamination.

    Water samples were also taken from Circulo Verde in Eastwood, Quezon City.

    Last week, the Marikina City Veterinary Office recovered up to 58 dead pigs from the river, prompting authorities to prohibit water-related activities, including fishing and swimming, along the river.

    Teodoro has earlier said city government will file a writ of kalikasan case next week in connection with the dead pigs based on the evidence that it will gather.

    A writ of kalikasan is a remedy available to persons or groups whose right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated or threatened with violation.

    Teodoro said the dumping of the dead pigs is a violation of the Clean Water Act and the Sanitation Code.

    Meanwhile, the agricultural lobby group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) has urged the government to suspend the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) permits for pork imports and cancel all that are currently being processed.

    “Protecting the local agriculture and supporting the interest of Filipino farmers at this time of an outbreak, thru the non-issuance of SPS, does not violate our commitment to the WTO (World Trade Organization). Countries have been allowed to protect their respective local agriculture in times of outbreak,” Sinag chairman Rosendo So said in a statement.

    Notably member countries of the WTO compels its members to have their SPS measures in order to protect human, animal or plant life or health in their territories.

    SINAG likewise urged concerned agencies to increase border control and fully implement quarantine policies apart from local government units being vigilant against the entry of imported frozen meat being sold at wet markets.

    The group also called on the DA to increase the P3,000 per head indemnity given to backyard raisers to P5,000 in order to further help affected small businessmen start anew.

    According to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) latest official count, 7,416 pigs in the one-kilometer radius in ASF areas in Rizal and Bulacan have already been depopulated, following proper protocol to manage, contain and control the spread of the disease.

    On the other hand, San Miguel Foods assured that its products are safe to eat and not affected by the ASF amid the issuance of several provinces to totally ban the entry of live and processed pork products from various parts in Luzon. – With Jed Macapagal