File photo

MANILA – As more cases of African swine fever (ASF) were seen in Camarines Sur, Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Wednesday appealed to hog raisers anew to stop selling and transporting pork and pork products infected with the animal-borne disease.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Dar said the 1.85 percent of the 12.8 million hog inventory were already culled, but the key to stopping the spread of the disease lies in cooperation from hog raisers.

He said there were reports that some hog traders continue to sell sick pigs and transport them using their private vehicles.

“We are again requesting everyone in the hog industry, the various stakeholders na makipagtulungan sa gobyerno at huwag na natin talagang ikalat pa (to cooperate with the government and stop the spread of the disease) by way of buying sick pigs or infected pigs,” he said.

Dar said hog raisers should follow the example of traders in Rodriguez, Rizal, which is now ASF-free despite being the ground zero of the disease.

Currently, he said it would be best to refrain from selling hogs, pork, and pork products until such time that the disease is contained.

He said about PHP70 million worth of funds and livelihood projects have been given to Rodriguez, Rizal to raise native chickens, goats, cows, among other animals.

Earlier, he said the total losses due to the ASF outbreak may already have reached PHP7 billion.

On February 21, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 105 creating a national task force to “oversee and implement effective and coordinated policies and strategies to manage, contain and control the spread of such diseases” including ASF. (PNA)