Magsasaka party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat has asked the House leadership to conduct an immediate investigation into the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country, notably in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan.
Cabatbat filed House Resolution 336 directing the House committee on agriculture and food to look into the status of ASF proliferation in the country not only to protect the local consumers but also to assess its adverse impact to the hog industry.
“It is the responsibility of the government to take all necessary actions to protect the livelihood of our hog raisers and the hog industry as a whole,” he said.
Last Monday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) officially declared an outbreak of ASF in Guiguinto, Bulacan and in Rodriguez and Antipolo in Rizal.
Based on recent news reports, dead pigs were found floating in the Marikina River, a creek in Bagong Silangan, Quezon City, and in an irrigation canal in Malolos, Bulacan.
Cabatbat pointed out that while the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) has assured the public that the ASF is not considered a serious health threat, humans may become carriers of the virus which, if left unchecked, can find its way to meat products.
“Humans can become carriers of the virus, and the virus can also survive even if the meat has been processed or canned,” he noted.
Based on official figures, the PhP260-billion worth hog industry is composed of 12.70 million swine in the country.
According to the lawmaker from Nueva Ecija, pigs, warthogs and boars who have been infected with ASF have a 100 percent fatality rate.