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SWINE FLU | Farm secretary appeals against illegal importation of pork
July 2, 2020 , 04:45 PM

(July 02, 2020) – The government has appealed to traders and hog raisers against smuggling pork and other pig products to the Philippines following concerns of a possible ‘pandemic virus’ from pigs found in China, the farm secretary said on Thursday.

William Dar, in the Laging Handa briefing said there has been instances of illegal importation of hog products, despite a ban on Chinese pork.

“From time to time, may dumadating na smuggled items. Nakikiusap kami sa mga magnenegosyo… ‘wag na natin dagdagan ang problema sa bansa,” Dar said.

He said the farm sector has increased measures in seaports and airports, not only for quarantine, but also in making sure that pork from banned countries would not pass through.

On Tuesday, a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States revealed that a “G4” strain of H1N1 had “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus”.

This was based on Chinese research of influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018. Although the study highlighted the risk of human-to-human transmission, they said there was no imminent threat for now.

The virus was identified as a recombination of the 2009 H1N1 variant and a once prevalent strain found in pigs.

This comes after the global spread of the novel coronavirus disease, which was believed to have originated from bats in Wuhan. China also had an outbreak of avian H1N1 in 2009.

In the Philippines, Dar admitted that the country has yet to contain the African swine fever. But they have introduced programs to repopulate the hog industry especially in CALABARZON and Central Luzon, such as giving 400 million pesos for community hog raising.

Dar also assured that the country has sufficient rice supply for 82 days for the month of July. But they have also requested a 240 billion peso budget for 2021, which includes a 66 billion peso stimulus for food production.

He said this is meant to expand banner programs to increase food production, set up additional food markets and trading centers, as well as the implementation of cash for work programs for those who were affected by the quarantine. (Katrina Elaine Alba/MM)

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