Hog industry stakeholders in Bohol hold online conference 

COSTLY DISINFECTION.  Even cargo boats from Cebu are not spared from the disinfection which is done to make sure that the virus that causes the ASF could not contaminate Bohol and kill its multi-billion peso industry. The disinfection is for free, pending an enabling ordinance that would allow the legal exaction of fees for the service. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

BELLEVUE PANGLAO, Bohol, March 2 (PIA) -- Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, who is leading Bohol’s fight against the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus, has presented options for the province to sustain its continued operations against ASF during the online Consultative Conference of industry stakeholders last week.

Ravaging Luzon and slowly making its way across Mindanao and after hitting Leyte in the Visayas, the threat of ASF is now nearer to Bohol. 

A single case of the disease crossing over to Bohol could potentially decimate the 50,000-ton industry where most backyard growers rely to survive.

To keep Bohol protected against the scourge especially while another pandemic is threatening, the Bohol ASF Executive Council put up a disinfection team in line with a local executive order to ensure that people and vehicles that come to Bohol, especially from Leyte, are totally disinfected.  

ASF can be transmitted through direct contact, and a person who has handled meat, brought in processed or cooked pork and its by-products, can carry the virus, explained Lapiz during the conference. 

Bohol has also banned the entry of hog transport container vans from entering while Bohol based vehicles getting in, or vehicles not necessarily carrying pork but may have travelled through areas affected by the disease and may have been contaminated by the virus, are made to undergo disinfection.

“It would be pointless to disinfect when the vehicles still have traces of dirt where the disinfectants can not penetrate, so we have to wash the vehicles first,” said Efren Cagande, a province-paid casual worker who is among the four employees assigned to systematically wash each car, motorcycle or transport vehicle from Leyte.

The team comprised of Cagande, Eduardo Valleser Jr., Norberto Malinao, and Timoteo Curayag, along with a corresponding team from the private sector Marcela Farms comprised of Jorge Jao, Marvin Cuyag, Dionisio Tolomia, and Richie Boy Rosales, have to unroll 200 meters of high pressure hoses from their makeshift disinfection station in the port of Ubay to the arriving ship, board it, and disinfect the ship and its rolling cargo before it can roll into the port.

At the port, entering vehicles line up for the mandatory car wash and thorough disinfection by the team, all of these for free. 

Day in and day out, the team, clad in personnel protective equipment, face shields, rubber boots, and gloves, spray pressurized water and disinfectant to every vehicle before they can be allowed to roll outside the port area.

The water and disinfectants, however, have to be bought and brought in and applied by a team of people who know what they are doing.

"It’s a huge cost and sacrifice but we have to do this to safeguard Bohol," said Jao. 

In the consultative conference, Lapiz, however, said there are still some funds they can use in the meantime, but this may not last long if the operation has to sustain. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)


Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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