Press Release
March 20, 2019

Senate Hearing on African Swine Fever

The Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture held a hearing today to determine the steps that government agencies and industry players can take to prevent African Swine Fever (ASF) from piercing through the Philippine borders.

While not a human health issue, as the disease only affects swine, the global ASF outbreak presents a looming threat to the local hog-raising industry. As the yet-incurable ASF affects nearby countries such as China and Vietnam, striking their swine populations down, the Senate has seen it fit to call for a public hearing with concerned agencies and stakeholders.

Presiding over the hearing was Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri on behalf of Committee Chair Senator Cynthia Villar. In his opening statement, Zubiri sought to "determine the risks and vulnerability of the country to ASF especially since we have a high volume of imported pork and pork products."

He expressed particular concern for the "most vulnerable of the local farmers." Small-scale backyard raisers make up 65 percent of the local hog-raising industry.

The panel was comprised of representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Animal Industry, the Bureau of Customs, the Food and Drugs Administration, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the National Meat Inspection Service, the Philippine Veterinary Medical Association, the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc., Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, and the backyard-raising sector.

Various concerns were raised, including swine importation, coastal border control, tariffication measures, stricter airport inspection, and recall of canned pork products.

On the topic of swine importation, Zubiri championed the local industry and urged,"Buy Filipino pork first."

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