Governor Melchor Diclas said the temporary banning of live pigs, fresh and frozen pork and pork products from ASF- affected areas thru Executive Order 2019-031 and EO 2019-36 is still in effect.
“We must have to protect the livelihood of our people,” Diclas said explaining that swine raising has long been a common backyard income generating source of livelihood especially among rural households.
While acknowledging the efforts of concerned stakeholders such as the local government units, the police enforcers, concerned agencies in a presentation of the provincial contingency plan, he also sought their continuing support.
Dr Miriam Tiongan, head of the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), said although the disease is host-specific meaning, it only affects the swine and not transmissible to humans, it has adverse impact on the livelihood of the swine raisers.
The provincial government through the PVO has crafted a contingency manual to manage the disease before, during and after the outbreak.
Called “Benguet PORK”, this is a manual that contains step-by-step instructions on the appropriate measures to better manage the disease outbreak. The PORK contingency plan stands for P for prevention, OR for On-the-Dot Response and K for keeping updated and ahead of ASF or after outbreak to help revive the pork industry.
For preventive measures, the PVO established quarantine checkpoints that monitor the entry of pork commodities and live pigs. These checkpoints are located at Marcos Highway, Kennon Road, Naguilian Road, La Union- Benguet Road in San Pascual, Tuba, Halsema Road in Bangao, Buguias, Ilocos Sur- Benguet Road in Colalo, Mankayan, and Benguet- Vizcaya Road in Pito, Bokod.
Recently, a truck carrying pork products was denied of entry along Palina, Marcos Highway through the help of the community.
Other common ways to avoid ASF include purchasing from ambulant pork vendors; feeding of swills or leftovers especially those taken from restaurants as infected pork may have been mixed, otherwise it should be cooked for around 30 minutes to ensure that the virus does not survive; going to areas with suspected sick swine as they may be disease-carriers through garments and shoes; and seek for permits issued to those selling the commodity.
Admitting that the provincial government cannot do it alone to prevent the entry of ASF, Tiongan enjoined the support of the community like reporting suspicious operations of traders or truckers. (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)