By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Party-list Rep. Argel Joseph Cabatbat (Ang Magsasaka Party-list) has voiced strong suspicion that smuggling of pork products could be the culprit in the current African Swine Flu (ASF) outbreak in the country.
Cabatbat said despite the existing import ban of hog products on countries affected by ASF, it seemed that such disease has entered the Philippines.
“Logically, hindi na dapat ito makapasok sa atin. Paano ito naka pasok sa atin? Maraming paraan… pinag-dududahan namin ang smuggling na dahilan kaya naka-pasok dito itong African Swine Flue,” said Cabatbat during the Party-list News Forum.
Cabatbat recently filed House Resolution No. 332 directing the House Committee on Agriculture and Food to investigate the proliferation of ASF and assess its adverse impact to the hog industry.
The resolution also urges the House panel to look into pork smuggling activities at the Bureau of Customs, noting that source of smuggled products could be from countries already struggling against the effects of ASF
“Kung pinatupad lang sana natin ‘tong measure na ito, hindi na sana ito naka pasok. Alam naman natin ang smuggling, ay matagal nang problema yan, pinaiimbestigahan natin ito,” said.
Reported that ASF outbreak in Asia have been reported in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, Mongolia, Laos, and Myanmar.
Cabatbat also noted that another source of the virus could be canned meat products and the use of food leftovers as feed for pigs.