Private hog growers not only in the region but in the entire country are fully supportive of Cebu Capitol’s measures and policies in managing the threats of the African Swine Fever (ASF).
Rolando Tambago, president of both the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative and the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, said it is high time the government try another measure aside from pig culling in handling the dreaded swine disease because it has remained ineffective and counter-productive.
Tambago, who attended a meeting at the Capitol on Monday, March 20, told Gov. Gwen Garcia and nine mayors from LGUs placed under the color-coding scheme by the Department of Agriculture, that based on private sector estimate, five million hogs had been killed in the fight against the ASF since it first surfaced in the country in 2019.
Sadly, however, he added, only around 20 percent of the figure fell victim to the virus itself while the greater 80 percent majority were casualties of DA’s culling protocol. “Anugon kaayo. Naangin ang kadaghanan sa inventory nato,” Tambago told Sugbo News. “Kung ato nang ipadayon ang kana nga programa, mahurot gyud ang atong baboy because gamay ray natakdan pero i-culling tanan to prevent the spread. Pero kung effective na siya nga pamaagi sa government, supposedly nasulbad na unta nato ang problema karon,” he added.
He also lauded Gov. Garcia for being the lone voice in government that seeks for a better method in handling the situation without hurting the economy and the livelihoods of many. “Wala tay nakita nga mga probinsya or any LGU in the whole Philippines nga nitan-aw og laing pamaagi sa pagsulbad ani nga problema gawas sa Cebu Provincial Government,” he said.
Carcar City Mayor Patricio Barcenas said that almost 600 hogs in one sitio in Brgy. Guadalupe were scheduled to be culled by the DA just before the governor issued a memorandum that put a stop to the culling protocol implemented by the department. Carcar City is the center of the supposed ASF cases that were detected in the city’s slaughterhouse. A total of 141 hogs had been killed in the city within the 500-meter radius of the slaughterhouse.
The mayor said hog growers in the city heaved a sigh of relief when the governor asserted Cebu’s right to local autonomy and questioned the protocols implemented by DA even in the absence of conclusive diagnosis of the virus.
DA 7 director Angel Enriquez, meanwhile, has thrown her support behind the policies of the Capitol in handling the situation. She even committed to place the resources of the agency at the Capitol’s disposal in combatting the ASF.
Gov. Garcia is stern in her position that Cebu will take a more evidence-based approach to the ASF, even tapping the expertise of Cebu’s leading laboratory services provider and the personnel on the ground through barangay volunteer workers to monitor the situation even down to the purok level.
Also present during the meeting were City of Naga Mayor Val Chiong; San Fernando Mayor Mytha Canoy; Sibonga Mayor Lionel Bacaltos; Argao Mayor Allan Sesaldo; Barili Mayor Pablo John Garcia IV; Dumanjug Mayor Gungun Gica; Pinamungajan Mayor Ana Jessica Baricuatro; and Aloguinsan Mayor Cesar Ignatuis Moreno. (Ioannes P. Arong)