Press Release
March 2, 2020

Zubiri called for Balik-Scientists to face off ASF in the Philippines

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri urged Malacañang to call on Balik-Scientists, vets to face off African Swine Fever in the Philippines.

"We have to save the livelihood of our hog raisers, both large-scale and backyard; especially the backyard hograisers. For many years, we have had the lowest hoof and mouth disease. We controlled Avian Flu and it failed to decimate our poultry industry. We are one of the preferred sources of pork and poultry by countries who had high standards like Japan.

That's why I'm aghast at how ASF is destroying our hograisers. Together with the Agriculture Committee chaired by Sen. Villar, I have warned that the importation of pork meat, offals and processed products should stop. Evidently, the concerned agencies were powerless against importers added to smugglers who cared for nothing else but their profits.

I understand that our porous borders opened our hograisers to attack with imports driving down farmgate prices. Now we witness how they're succumbing to mandatory culling meaning they lose present stock and need a lot of capital to restart.

Since the disease is already here decimating the industry, I urge Malacañang to call as many Filipino scientists and veterinarians back to the country. Many of them occupy high positions in the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations.

I also recognize the various task forces organized by Agricuture Sec. William Dar who is assisted by the private sector. Still, we have to more than double our manpower, equipment and financial resources to address ASF until the whole of the Philippines is declared ASF- free.

Pork-eating Filipinos should feel safe eating pork without the lingering fear that they're eating diseased meat. Our hograisers should regain their lost livelihoods from Benguet to Davao as all our islands register ASF infection. I urge government to invite all Balik-Scientists who hold the key in beefing up efforts to combat ASF," stressed Sen. Migz Zubiri , who studied Agri-business and holds a Master's Degree on Environment & Natural Resources at the University of the Philippines.

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