MINDANAO Development Authority (Minda) chairman Manny Piñol is recommending a separate quarantine zone for Mindanao to mitigate the entry of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in the island.
Piñol said he is proposing that each main island in the country should have its own separate quarantine cluster so that it will not have an effect in the hog industry.
“Because if we do not clusterize, the whole Philippines will be identified as an ASF-affected country, when the truth is we are geographically separated from Luzon,” he said during the 1st Mindanao Hog Raisers’ Forum at the Grand Men Seng Hotel on Wednesday, September 18.
The official said strict security measures will be implemented if the measure will be granted. These would include monitoring of international sea ports and roll-on/roll-off ships.
Piñol said he had been pushing for this measure during the avian influenza (bird flu) case that hit in some parts of Luzon last year when he was still the Agriculture secretary.
He said areas with critical force of entries such as General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga City, and Surigao del Norte are monitored for the possible entry of meat products.
“Isa ang Zamboanga sa critical point of entries sa Mindanao na pwede pasukan ng ASF because doon dumadaan ang importation of canned meat products (Zamboanga City is one of the critical point of entries in Mindanao wherein ASF can enter because it is mostly the entry point of imported canned meat products),” the official said.
He also said only a few local government units in Mindanao are responding to address the ASF-scare. This is by passing an ordinance for the temporary ban of all swine products from Luzon in their respective areas.
Davao City, on Tuesday, passed a resolution urging Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for an executive order on its banning, which Piñol said he is supporting.
Pinol also said he will be signing a memorandum addressed to all governors and mayors for the temporary prohibition of swill (lamaw) feeding and order restaurants, food chains, and malls in the city to temporarily discontinue the giving away and selling of food waste.
The official, meanwhile, denied reports that the virus had already entered in Mindanao last July, adding the virus would have long affected many hogs in the island consistent to the virus’ capability of infecting within five to nine days if it was indeed true that the virus has entered this island. (RGL)