Senator Win Gatchalian urges the Department of Education to heighten precautionary measures and prevent students’ consumption of African Swine Fever (ASF)-positive pork products.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, calls for DepEd’s vigilance following reports that processed pork from China were tested positive for ASF. The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) also confirmed that skinless longganisa and hotdog from Mekeni were tested positive for ASF.
“Mahalagang mag-doble ingat ang mga paaralan lalo na’t mahilig ang mga bata sa ganitong klase ng mga produktong positibo sa ASF. Sa mga feeding program na isinasagawa ng DepEd, halimbawa, dapat siguruhin ng ating mga guro na gumagamit sila ng mga malinis at mapagkakatiwalaang mga produktong ipakakain sa mga bata,” Gatchalian said.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar has reported that 13 ASF outbreaks were confirmed in four provinces: Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bulacan and Rizal. This resulted in more than 20,000 hogs culled to contain the virus. A third or more than 6,600 of these pigs were infected with ASF while the rest were culled as part of government control measures.
Gatchalian noted that while ASF does not pose a threat to human health, schools should raise awareness and exhaust all sanitary measures to protect students from ASF-positive products.
“Etong mga hakbang na maaari nating gawin, nagsisimula ito sa responsableng pamimili at lubos na pagluluto ng karne sa mga paaralan. Ito ay upang maiwasan natin ang pagkakasakit ng mga mag-aaral pati na rin ang pagkalat pa ng ASF,” Gatchalian said, citing an advisory from the Department of Health (DOH), which identified uncooked and undercooked contaminated pork as a source of ASF’s spread in swine herds.
According to the DOH, ASF is introduced into a herd when contaminated raw pork are ingested by a pig. The virus spreads when pigs get into direct contact with other pigs. Food waste, feed, and garbage can also cause ASF when ingested by pigs.
Gatchalian strongly advises DepEd to involve parents in efforts to raise awareness on sanitary practices and preventive measures.
“While schools play an important role to protect our students’ health, it is important that we also extend our efforts at the household level. Kahit gawin ng mga paaralan ang lahat ng pwedeng gawin kung hindi naman nababantayan sa mga bahay nila, malalagay pa rin sa panganib ang ating mga estudyante,” Gatchalian stressed.