Belmonte: 11 dead pigs tested positive for African Swine Fever in Quezon City

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Photo: Pexels

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — More cases of African Swine Fever have been confirmed, this time in Quezon City.

Speaking to CNN Philippines Saturday, Quezon City mayor Joy Belmonte said, "I wanted to call (a meeting) today because I wanted to make decisions right away pertaining to this issue, but it's a weekend. But having said that, I did get to communicate with our city veterenarian... I have been able to verify... there are three pigs that have been found in a creek in Barangay Bagong Silangan; it has now been verified that there are 11 mortalities already in Barangay Bagong Silangan and they have been tested positive for African Swine Fever ... that's one barangay."

Belmonte added she also received reports of dead pigs in Barangay Payatas, but did not know how many there were.

"Two barangays, I think, have been verified to have positive in ASF," she said.

The mayor clarified piggeries are not allowed in Quezon City as zoning laws do not provide for agricultural zones. She said she has already given orders to close these down, however, given these are backyard industries and did not want families to suffer from loss of income, she gave them a "few months" to comply.

Belmonte said given the developments, they will have to act "more swiftly."

"If there are validated cases, within a one-kilometer radius, all pigs within that radius must be culled," she said, adding around 2,500 pigs from Barangay Bagong Silangan and Payatas will be affected.

Regarding the illegal piggeries, Belmonte said there could be around 13 barangays in the city with such operations. They were still verifying how many pigs there were. She wants them shut down "ASAP."

"Sa Bagong Silangan at sa Payatas, we will have to act swiftly kasi validated na yung mga reports doon. Doon naman sa iba pang barangay, pagpasok ng mga datos, titignan natin kasi I requested na matest na rin yung mga baboy sa mga barangay na 'yan kahit na wala pang reported mortalities... kasi pwede naman makita if they've been exposed to the virus para malaman what exactly we are dealing with pertaining to all of these piggeries," she said.

[Translation: In Bagong Silangan and Payatas, we will have to act swiftly because reports there have been validated. In other barangays, we will look at the data as soon as it comes in because I want the pigs there tested even if there are no reported mortalities yet... because we can see if they've been exposed to the virus so we can know what we're dealing with pertaining to all of these piggeries.]

Apart from these, Belmonte said checkpoints in all entry points in Quezon City have been set up after reports of ASF in neighboring areas were confirmed. The city government has also confiscated so-called "double dead" meat from these checkpoints.

Double-dead meat refers to meat taken for consumption from animals that have died from disease.

City veterinarians and inspectors have also been deployed to markets.

Despite the confirmation of Swine Fever, Belmonte said, "I think it is premature to prevent all swine from entering the city.

The Quezon City mayor said she called for a meeting on Monday, September 16, to get all the information she needs to make a decision on the matter.

All of Luzon is under close monitoring as authorities try to contain an outbreak of the African Swine Fever in the country.

African Swine Fever only affects pigs, but humans can carry the disease and spread it locally. A virus quickly spreads in an affected hog, which could lead to death after three to five days. The Agriculture department has set aside P60-million worth of financial assistance to hog raisers who have suffered losses from the virus.

To prevent entry of the disease into the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture has banned the entry of pork and pork products from China, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, Zambia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, China, Vietnam and Mongolia.