By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said drastic measures like culling of pigs will be enforced after the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) confirmed that the first eight blood samples submitted from hogs in Barangays Bagong Silangan and Payatas in Quezon City tested positive for African swine fever (ASF).
The Office of the Mayor said 45 blood samples were submitted to BAI but the results have yet to be released.
To date, Belmonte said that at least 1500 pigs are being monitored by the DA and the City Veterinary Department within the one-kilometer radius of Barangays Payatas and Silangan for possible ASF infection.
Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan, BAI Director Ronnie Domingo and ASF Crisis Management Team member, Dr Rieldrin Morales – representing DA Secretary William Dar – personally handed the official swine test results to Belmonte in a meeting late Thursday.
With the ASF afflicting the two barangays, Belmonte met hog raisers from Payatas yesterday to inform them of the necessity to immediately cull the ASF-infected hogs from the said areas.
Barangay Payatas chairman Manny Guarin, who also raises around 300 pigs, led the way in implementing the culling as part of the 1-7-10 protocol.
Belmonte said a P10-million budget for financial assistance will be allotted for ASF affected areas.
She asked all the hog raisers from the affected barangays to surrender their pigs before the budget runs out and in order to prevent the spread of ASF to other areas.
“Kaya importante na sa dalawang barangay ma-contain na ang sakit dahil kung kumalat pa sa ibang lugar, baka kulangin na ang ating pondo (It is mportatt for these two barangays to have the disease be contained since if it spreads to other areas we may run short of funds),” Belmonte said.
During their meeting with Belmonte, DA and BAI officials commended her proactive moves, including her directive to cull pigs from two sitios in Barangay Bagong Silangan.
DA and BAI officials also assured Belmonte of their full support and continued collaboration against ASF in the city.
The ASF scare has reportedly already affected the sale of roasted pig in La Loma and Belmonte and other local officials scheduled a lechon boodle fight late yesterday to assure the public that roasted pigs (lechon) sold in the area are safe to eat.
“Bumaba kasi ang benta ng mga lechonero sa La Loma. Mula sampung lechon bawat araw, dalawang lechon na lang ang nabebenta kaya gusto ko silang tulungan (The sales of lechon has gone down in La Loma. From the usual ten roasted pigs, they now sell two per day. That is why I want to help them),” said Belmonte.