THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said Wednesday that its quarantine measures are working against an unspecified hog disease outbreak in unidentified parts of the country, amid fears that African Swine Fever (ASF)may have reached the Philippines.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar told reporters at the Palace that the government was able to manage and control the first reported cases that emerged last month.

“We have managed, we have contained, we have controlled. ’Yung (Within the) one-kilometer radius, wala na kaming nakikita na sakit doon sa unang naapektohan (we can no longer detect diseased animals),” he said.

He said diseased pigs are unlikely to enter the market because of the inspection regime for slaughtered animals.

Huwag mabahala ang publiko kasi ’yung proseso na bago katayin, nandiyan ang veterinarian health certificate, pagkinatay merong tatak na NMIS (National Meat Inspection Service) certificate. Kung wala ito, ikukumpiska namin lahat ’yan. (The public should not worry because slaughtered animals must have veterinarian health certificates and the NMIS stamp. Without these, slaughtered animals are subject to confiscation).”

The DA announced last month that it had received reports of increased hog mortality, which was “2% beyond normal,” in areas it did not identify. Reports from international media noted that Taiwan is imposing special baggage checks on passengers from the Philippines after a suspected outbreak of ASF in Bulacan and Rizal, which Mr. Dar declined to comment on.

The DA said it had initiated a precautionary cull of pigs in the affected area and had sent samples from the herd for testing.

Mr. Dar said the test results will be released on Friday.

“Friday, we will disclose what that disease is,” he said.

“Even if positive… in place na ’yung quarantine measures (the quarantine system is in place),” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin