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Solon seeks probe into African swine fever outbreak

A party-list lawmaker has filed a resolution calling for an investigation into the outbreak of African swine fever in areas in Rizal and Bulacan.

In House Resolution 336, Magsasaka party-list Representative Argel Cabatbat urged the House Committee on Agriculture and Food to investigate the spread of African swine fever in the country in order to protect local consumers as well as assess its adverse effects in 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.

The Department of Agriculture on Monday said an African swine fever outbreak has been declared in Guiguinto, Bulacan and in Rodriguez and Antipolo in Rizal.

DA spokesperson Noel Reyes said the official declaration of outbreak is "based on the confirmation of tests we released last week."

The department on September 9 confirmed that 14 of the 20 blood samples from pigs in suspected areas in the country were found to be positive for African swine fever.

The samples were collected from hogs in three barangays in the Rizal province where around 100 pigs died last month.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), African swine fever is a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. While ASF does not affect humans, it can have serious economic effects if it spreads among livestock.

Cabatbat said that while the National Meat Inspection Service has assured the African swine fever will not pose serious health threats, humans may still carry the virus which could 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 said.

The DA Agricultural Credit Policy Council has allocated an amount of P60 million to a livelihood loan assistance program for hog raisers hit by the African swine fever.

Meanwhile, the Department of Budget and Management has released P82.5 million to cover the funding requirements for African swine fever preventive measures. — BM, GMA News