KALIBO, Aklan, Sept. 12 (PIA6) -- Governor Florencio T. Miraflores has issued Executive Order No. 038 organizing the African Swine Fever (ASF) Prevention and Control Task Force of the Province of Aklan.
The governor said the enactment of the task force aims to prevent and control possible entry or outbreak of ASF in the country particularly in the province of Aklan, thus ensuring the safety of the swine industry here and protecting the local industry and other related industries.
This is also to promote and protect the health and food security of Aklanons, and to control ASF in case of entry or outbreak in the province, he said.
In his Executive Order, the governor explained that ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic fever in pigs caused by a virus with up to 100 percent mortality rate with no treatment or vaccine available and can spread via "fomites", and through uncooked pig products.
ASF outbreaks had been noted in different countries like Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, Zambia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and the neighboring countries of the Philippines like Mongolia, Cambodia, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and China.
The governor said the Kalibo International Airport (KIA) caters to direct flights from China with an average of 10 flights daily arrivals that also carry catering food wastes or left over from airlines and can be a potential source of ASF virus through improper disposal.
From January to June of this year, Chinese tourists who visited Boracay reached 250,326, topping the list of foreign tourist arrivals in the island.
Under the EO, the Local Swine Fever Task Force is chaired by Miraflores and co-chaired by Dr. Ma. Cyrosa Leen Mabel C. Sinel, Provincial Veterinarian, Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPVET) while Vice Gov. Reynaldo M. Quimpo is Vice Chairman, with members coming from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and heads and representatives of national and local government agencies in the province mostly involved in checking/monitoring of baggage carried by arriving tourists through the KIA and seaports in various parts of the province.
In meetings conducted by the province after the organization of the task force, Sinel shared that Aklan, as of July 2019 based on data from the Provincial Statistics Authority (PSA), has some 103,111 heads of pigs.
Even before the organization of the task force, OPVET, under the leadership of Sinel, has installed a quarantine team at KIA and has confiscated hundreds of kilograms of canned meat and meat products brought by Chinese tourists bound for Boracay Island.
Sinel said these canned meat products are burned and buried at the dumpsite in Kalibo.
OPVET is also set to put up three checkpoints in strategic areas in Aklan to prevent entry of delivery trucks carrying pigs which might be infected with diseases, or without proper permits and documents. (JBG/VGV/PIA6 Aklan)