Dar wants unified response to dead pigs issue
Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Sunday said all government units should have a unified response in facing the African Swine Fever (ASF) problem.
Dar made the statement after Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte confirmed on Saturday 11 dead pigs from Barangay Bagong Silangan have been tested positive for ASF.
“This is the time to have a unified response and management of this problem so we can properly handle it and the public will not be alarmed,” Dar said in a statement aired on TV.
Dar said he was not informed about the Quezon City case.
“We are asking our people who immediately said that and they did not clear it with me,” he said.
Dar said they preferred that the Department of Agriculture will announce this information to the public.
Department of Agriculture spokesperson Noel Reyes, in a separate TV interview, said it is not confirmed if ASF is the reason behind the pigs' death in Nueva Vizcaya and Quezon City.
Reyes said the Bureau of Animal Industry is still validating the reports.
“It’s not yet confirmed. If there is such report, the Bureau of Animal Industry visits the area and coordinates with the city or provincial veterinarian to get samples,” he said.
He added that Dar and Belmonte met on Sunday.
In another statement, Dar urged hog raisers to immediately report to their respective municipal or city veterinarians any sick and dead pigs in their backyard.
"It was utterly irresponsible on the part of the backyard raisers as they did not only violate current laws, but their misdoing also spread the disease pathogens much faster," he said.
"They violated Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act, as they deprived their dead pigs of adequate care, maltreating them in the process," he added.
Those who will violate the law can be punishable by imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than two years or a fine of not less than P1,000 nor more than P5,000.
"Also, the suspected backyard raisers violated Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act… as they brazenly and irresponsibly dumped dead pigs in public places like waterways," he said.
Violators are punished with a fine of not less than P300 but not more than P1,000 or render community service for not less than one day to not more than 15 days.
Dar made the appeal on the wake of dozens of dead pigs found floating along Marikina River and a creek in Quezon City last Friday.
“The irresponsible dumping of dead pigs simply adds scare to the public, and this should not be tolerated. The perpetrators must be punished in accordance with the law,” he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS