QC veterinarian refutes DA claim that the city is ASF-free
MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City veterinarian Dr. Ana Marie Cabel refuted Department of Agriculture (DA) Spokesperson Noel Reyes’s claim that the city was cleared of African swine fever (ASF), saying that around 2,000 pigs have yet to be culled.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Reyes was asked if Quezon City was cleared of the virus, to which he responded in the affirmative.
Cabel clarified that while the 6 other ASF-infected barangays in the city have already been cleared of the virus, hog raisers in Barangay Payatas expressed resistance to the containment procedures. "We still have half of Barangay Payatas to deal with. They have not been so cooperative during our first culling," Cabel told Rappler in a text message.
In the past, Payatas hog raisers refused to surrender their pigs due to the losses they would incur. The city government offered P3,000 in financial assistance per culled pig, but hog raisers sold full-grown pigs for P8,000 to P9,000, meaning they would lose a minimum of P5,000 if they surrendered them.
However, Cabel thinks it won't be long before they cooperate in the culling procedures. "Their pigs are dying, so they are forced to surrender," she said.
The city veterinarian's office will be returning to Payatas for another round of culling after Undas. Apart from convincing hog raisers to cooperate, Cabel said that they also need to address the challenge of insufficient burial space for the pigs. Another burial site needs to be validated to accommodate the unprecedented number of pigs in the barangay
"We are still validating the quantity of pigs and the burial site. After 3,000 pigs that were culled, the burial site is not enough," Cabel said.
She said Reyes may have thought Quezon City was cleared of ASF because of the delay in clearing Barangay Payatas.
"Natagalan kasi kami bago bumalik sa Payatas dahil sa problema kaya akala niya cleared na din namin (It took us a while to return to Payatas because of that problem, that's why he thought the city was cleared)," she said.
So far, Barangays Tatalon, Roxas, Pasong Tamo, Bagong Silangan, Tandang Sora, and Commonwealth have been cleared of ASF.
While Barangay Matandang Balara showed signs of infection, Cabel clarified that the area was not infected by the disease. In the meantime, the city government is still implementing protocols and surveillance to monitor and contain the virus. – Rappler.com