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Dietary and nutritional sufficiency is essential to public health and immunity to diseases and infections.
A key dietary component is protein, mainly sourced from meat, fish, and certain vegetables.
Pork is a chief protein source for most Filipino households because it is readily available and relatively affordable.
The availability and safety of pork supply is critical to ensure public nutrition and health in the face of the still raging 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic.
Thus, former Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. appealed for aid for local hog raisers affected by the African Swine Fever to jumpstart the rehabilitation of the local hog industry and ensure availability, adequacy, and affordability of pork products.
ASF is a highly contagious and deadly swine disease that can affect both farm-raised and feral (wild) pigs.
It doesn’t infect people, but it is readily passed from one pig to another by direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected pig.
Marcos stressed the need to address the continued spread of the disease as it has already caused a significant reduction in the country’s swine population by around three million hogs since the ASF outbreak started in 2019, with losses for the local hog sector and allied industries amounting to more than P100 billion.
“Local hog raisers should be provided with sufficient funds to enable them to recoup their losses and get back to their business para maka-recover ang supply ng baboy locally. Hindi sapat ang P5,000 assistance per pig culled na binibigay sa hog raisers dahil maximum of ten heads culled lang ang babayaran,” he said.
He said local hog raisers should be given good insurance to give them confidence to continue or provide alternative livelihood to backyard operators who were forced to close shop.
He also called for the training of hog raiders on biosafety measures such as providing pigs with clean feed and exercising care when handling livestock since people are the main way that the disease spreads.
“Mahihirapang ma-control ang ASF dahil sa complex epidemiology ng sakit na ito, lalo pa’t inoobserbahan pa lang kung epektibo ‘yung vaccine at patuloy pa din ang mga high-risk practices sa mga farming sectors at sa trading ng live animals at mga produkto nito,” Marcos pointed out.
The ASF virus has affected hog farms in 2,981 barangays, in 579 cities and municipalities, mostly in Luzon, since mid-2019.
It has been reported in Abra, Albay, Apayao, Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Benguet, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Eastern Samar, Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Kalinga, La Union, Laguna, Lanao del Norte, Leyte, Masbate, Misamis Oriental, North Cotabato, Northern Samar, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Quirino, Rizal, Sarangani, Southern Leyte, Sorsogon, Surigao del Sur, Samar, Tarlac, Zambales Provinces.
It was also reported in Metro Manila, particularly in the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, and Quezon.