MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said on Friday, October 18, the city government was in the process of culling 164 pigs in Barangay Commonwealth after the area tested positive for African swine fever (ASF).
As of posting, 5 barangays in the city have been cleared of the viral disease: Pasong Tamo, Tandang Sora, Roxas, Tatalon, and Bagong Silangan.
However, Belmonte said that pig deaths had also been discovered in Barangay Matandang Balara. The mayor clarified that ASF infection in the area was not yet confirmed. The Bureau of Animal Industry has yet to release the results from the blood samples submitted by the city government.
In the meantime, Barangay Payatas and Barangay Commonwealth have yet to be declared ASF-free. According to Belmonte, Barangay Commonwealth could be cleared by Friday, October 18, because culling started the day before and the city veterinarian's office could cull up to 500 pigs a day.
Belmonte said clearing Barangay Payatas of the disease proved to be challenging due to the large number of pigs in the area, unforeseen because of the lack of an inventory.
The initial figure given by the barangay to the city government was that only 1,500 to 2,000 pigs were contained in Barangay Payatas. However, Belmonte discovered that there could be more than 5,000 pigs. This means that around 2,000 pigs had yet to be culled, she said.
Belmonte brought up the challenge of finding a burial site for the thousands of culled pigs, since containment protocol requires them to be buried in the same location. Luckily, Belmonte said, they located a site within Payatas, and could resume culling on Friday.
The city government only allotted P15 million for financial assistance to affected hog raisers. On October 7, Belmonte announced in her State of the City Address that around 4,500 pigs had been culled across the barangays, thus, P14 million in financial assistance had been given out.
Because of the underestimated amount needed for Barangay Payatas, Belmonte said the city government had reached out to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for aid.
The DA said it would need to stipulate guidelines for disbursement before handing out the assistance, while the DSWD said it would provide assistance through the city's congressmen. – Rappler.com
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.