April 21, 2024

The Department of Agriculture Cordillera has urged local government units to make use of its Covid-19 checkpoints to monitor illegal transport of meat and meat products in their respective areas due to the threats of African swine fever.
DA-CAR Executive Director Cameron Odsey said the agency continues to monitor cases of ASF, especially in the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Kalinga.
Odsey said LGUs then were hard up in putting up quarantine checkpoints for animal disease control but with the pandemic, each LGU is now mandated to have its own checkpoints.
He said LGUs must also inspect if motorists transporting live animals or meat products have the necessary documents.
“We want to use the Covid-19 checkpoints to limit the movement of meat and meat products from areas with animal diseases to areas without AFS cases,” Odsey said.
Cordillera continues to have a low supply of hogs because its sufficiency level remains low with Baguio City getting its supply from Ilocos and central Luzon.
Tabuk City in Kalinga, on the other hand, is reported to be at 30 percent pork sufficient.
In Benguet, the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian is conducting intensified information campaigns for hog raisers to increase their bio-security to prevent the entry of ASF in their farms.
Provincial Veterinarian Miriam Tiongan reported that some areas without ASF in the past have recorded new cases recently.
Tiongan said since the community quarantine was imposed, most of the hog raisers have lowered their bio-security, which refers to measures taken to stop the spread or introduction of harmful organisms to human, animal, and plant life.
Affected hog raisers have admitted feeding their pigs with food scraps while they allow other people to enter their pigpens without going through the proper disinfection practices. 
“Biosecurity has not been properly observed, although prior to the lockdown, we have been going around reminding them not to feed food scraps and not to allow entry to just about anyone in their farms. We also gave them disinfectants for free but I think it didn’t sink in,” Tiongan said.
Around 201 heads of swine were depopulated when the first ASF cases were reported in the province last February followed by 173 pigs from May to June.
Around 100 pigs were also depopulated last month alone in a bid to contain the spread of the ASF virus.
The province’s quarantine checkpoints are located along Kennon Road, Quirino Highway, Baguio-Nueva Vizcaya Road, Palispis-Aspiras (Marcos) Highway, San Pascual-La Union Road and Mankayan-Cervantes, Ilocos Sur Road. – Ofelia C. Empian