If African Swine Fever really hit Carcar City, why are there no massive deaths of hogs in this southern Cebu LGU?
This was the question posed by Gov. Gwen Garcia which also puzzled Department of Agriculture regional executive director Angel Enriquez during a meeting at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 19.
“The Carcar City case actually proved that you do not have to kill, you do not have to cull, kay buhi man after one week,” Gov. Garcia told Enriquez.
To recall, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) declared three barangays in Carcar City as infected with the deadly ASF in March.
As protocol, BAI ordered and successfully carried the culling of over 140 hogs in the first two barangays after having been found within the 500-meter radius where the alleged cases were detected.
Gov. Garcia intervened in time and ordered the stoppage of the culling in the remaining Barangay Guadalupe which had over 600 hogs awaiting to be culled by BAI.
“After one week, walay namatay. What is the conclusion? Kung ila to gipatay, patay na gyod to,” the governor said.
Enriquez said she will meet with other DA regional executive directors, as well as DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, in Tacloban later this month for a national operations management meeting.
She said she will relay to Panganiban the real situation in Cebu where BAI’s policies have been proven to have caused the unnecessary deaths of the local hog population.
“The DA has to take a stand here,” the governor told Enriquez. “I am not saying, believe me. I am saying, take a second look and draw your own conclusion.”
The governor has been questioning the BAI’s hastiness in their declaration of an ASF infestation — even in the absence of conclusive laboratory data — and its equally swiftness in hog culling especially since it is the same government agency that approves importation of pork.
While the BAI has refused to release the data on the total number of hogs that they had culled since 2019, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines president Rolando Tambago, who was also present during the meeting, had said the figure has reached 4 million hogs culled nationwide.
The governor said that “for something that involves killing millions of pigs, it behooves upon DA or BAI” to establish fully equipped laboratories that can conclusively detect different hog diseases such as the ASF or the ordinary hog cholera.
“If you don’t have the right information, you keep on making the wrong conclusions,” the governor said, adding that Cebu Province, in partnership with Prime Care, has established its own laboratory that is equipped in detecting not only the ordinary cholera but also ASF and other diseases. | Ioannes P. Arong