Agriculture Secretary William Dar is doing all he can to prevent the spread of African swine fever (ASF) to other parts of the country following reports that the virus has reached Pangasinan, Malacañang said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo defended Dar from criticisms that his agency’s lack of transparency could have led to the further spread of the virus.
“I’m sure the Secretary of Agriculture is competent enough to handle this situation. He hasn’t said anything about not handling it,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo admitted that despite efforts to contain the virus, there is still the possibility of contamination among hogs.
“Puwedeng kumalat (It can spread) but I understand they are taking measures to stop it,” Panelo said.
“Kung nakalusot eh; alam mo kapag merong contagion kung minsan mahirap ding pigilin (If it was able to slip through; you know, if there is a contagion, it’s difficult to stop),” he added.
Asked if President Rodrigo Duterte had any marching orders regarding ASF, Panelo said the orders “will be to contain it, stop it.”
The Palace official also assured that Malacañang is aware of the gravity of the ASF cases and continues to receive updates from the DA on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, Panelo also lauded Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte for banning the entry to Davao of pork products from Luzon.
“Mayor Sarah certainly is doing her job as Mayor. She’d want to protect her constituents,” Panelo said.
Reports showed that ASF reached Pangasinan due to the illegal transportation of hogs from Bulacan.
ASF had earlier been detected in some areas in Rizal and Bulacan. (PNA)
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