This Piggy Can’t Go to Market



Outbreak strikes on the home front. It’s too close to home, as blue clad cops stand patrol on the Canaman Naga boundary (In my case, that’s just around the corner.), ready to block the passage of pigs. (Somehow, that’s funny because another American slang term for police officer is pigs. But of course, that’s derogatory. Let’s hold up respect for the officers.) On one hand, it’s a relieving thought that the blue boys are guarding checkpoints not for rebel groups, furious fugitives or even NCoV infectees. It’s also comforting that authorities are taking measures to contain the problem. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s the latest fever – African Swine Fever, along with the threat of ABS-CBN franchise cancellation, Sarah Geronimo’s not so secret marriage, and that oh so serious NCoV 19 epidemic that does not seem to die down. All those even overshadowed the most recent Davao earthquake.

As it is, the Bombon Calabanga area is on lockdown (for infected pigs); and there’s a checkpoint on the border to Naga. But what I can’t get off my mind is that alternate roads which could easily accommodate trucks transporting swine, are open and unguarded. I don’t think there are cops on the road via Vilmar, Calauag which I personally frequent. There are a number of alternate routes from the lockdown area like the Magarao to San Felipe road, Bombon to Panicuason, Canaman to Camaligan; and these are not even secret passageways for smugglers. The public is aware of and regularly use these roads. Patrolling these highways would take quite a large force if the officers in blue would really want to close in on possible smubblers of infected swine. With all due respect, this calls to question the authenticity of the commitment of containing the crisis.

“African swine fever virus is a contagious viral disease impacting only pigs, not people, so it is not a public health threat or food safety concern. The World Organization for Animal Health considers African swine fever to be a trade limiting foreign animal disease of swine.” (https://www.pork.org) That’s what international authorities say. So, unless what’s infecting our local piggies is a new mutant strain, people and food are safe. Furthermore, “as a 5-time James Beard award nominee, Miami-based chef and restaurateur Jose Mendin wants consumers everywhere to know that because African swine fever only impacts pigs – and not humans – there’s no need to stop cooking and eating pork. ASF is not a food safety concern.” (https://www.pork.org) Okay, it’s perfectly safe to eat pork from sick pigs. It’s all in your mind that when you take in that piece of adobo, suddenly African swine fever would transform to Asian human fever. No, it doesn’t work that way.

But on the other hand, pigs won’t be convertible to pork if they go down to their deaths by the sounders. NMIC wouldn’t allow stores to sell double dead pork on the market. I’m no animal science expert, but I suppose hog raisers could have them butchered before they die of a natural death. (What a way to end life.) But I suppose, that would disrupt the animal’s life cycle and the time frame of the business. Oh well.

On the side of the consumers, it’s okay to come in contact with ASF infected pigs (not unless you’re annoyed with the odor). As experts have declared, it’s also okay to eat pork (even if it came from infected swine). So, why are the local talipapa meat merchants not selling new stocks of pork and just getting rid of the old stock? Even if pork carnivores give in to pointless paranoia, there is still a wide selection of food market of poultry, beef and of course green leafy vegetables and legumes. But if you paranoid pork lovers wouldn’t have none of these you could always scale the seven mountains to search for pure unadulterated uninfected swine. Maybe what’s happening with us is a transfer of the NCoV paranoia to ASF when the viruses have remotely different effects. Some people just enjoy being paranoid.

Lest I be accused of insensitivity, the biggest victims of this incident are the local hog raisers who would be losing large amounts of profit in expected disease and deaths of large drifts of piglets and sounders of swine. It is simply an incomprehensible calamity of catastrophic proportions. Perhaps the state could install financial security measures for affected swine farmers. Maybe, this is an opportunity for farmers to direct themselves to initiate multiple means of livelihood in preparation for similar diseases.

“Do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6