• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Local officials in Negros Oriental have assured the public that pork and pork products are safe to eat, despite confirmed reports of ASF infection in Dauin and Sibulan towns.
A statement issued by the provincial government of Negros Oriental also stressed that the ASF contamination was contained only in one barangay of each town, and pork from other parts of the province, and those sold in markets, are safe for human consumption because it has passed the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).
The clarification was made in a press conference at the PDRRMC Office in Dumaguete City on May 31, also attended by Board Member Woodrow Maquiling Jr., chair of the Sangguniang Panglalawigan committee on Agriculture, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion, Provincial Veterinarian Belinda Villahermosa, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) provincial head Dr. Alfonso Tundag, BAI ASF Coordinator for Visayas Josh Cruz, and PNP provincial director Colonel Alex Recinto.
Cruz also emphasized that ASF has no ill effects on human health, although he advised the public that proper food handling and cooking of the meat over high temperature are still needed to totally eliminate the virus, a statement which was supported by Dr. Estacion.
Even though ASF has no effect on humans, people can still be carriers of the virus which can be transmitted to pigs and can cause their sickness and eventual deaths, he added.
The importance of bio-security measures, disinfection, and sanitation measures before coming into contact with pigs was also stressed during the press briefing.
Maquiling corrected the public perception that all pigs in Negros Oriental are unsafe to eat, which has affected the swine industry in the province.
Hog sellers lament over low sales of pork products in the market due to the ASF scare, which has affected their livelihood.
Maquiling encourage the public to continue to support the support the local industry by patronizing their products.*