Bring ’em back

March 08, 2020

It’s not true.

Secret-service agents and superheroes do not save the world.

At least the way, top scientists and other researchers do.

They are always the silent, unheralded workers behind the battle against both super-villains and super-viruses.

Working silently inside laboratories and field testing centers, these scientific super-sleuths serially, ceaselessly save the world.

They should not only be welcomed back in; they should be persuaded to stay and do their heroic, noble work here at home for people and country.

But we must make their stay worth their while.

As the world grapples with multiple viral threats and other serious risks to public health, the government must aggressively promote a scientific homecoming.

This is precisely what Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri wants the Duterte administration to do.

Aside from the still spreading 2019 corona virus, the country is also fending off the onslaught of the Asian Swine Fever that is plaguing the local hog industry.

Zubiri called on Malacañang to call on Balik-Scientists, vets to face off African Swine Fever in the country.

In a statement, he said:

We have to save the livelihood of our hog raisers, both large-scale and backyard; especially the backyard hog raisers.

For many years, we have had the lowest hoof and mouth disease. We controlled Avian Flu and it failed to decimate our poultry industry.

We are one of the preferred sources of pork and poultry by countries who had high standards like Japan.

That's why I'm aghast at how ASF is destroying our hog raisers. Together with the Agriculture Committee chaired by Sen. Villar, I have warned that the importation of pork meat, offals and processed products should stop.

Evidently, the concerned agencies were powerless against importers added to smugglers who cared for nothing else but their profits.

I understand that our porous borders opened our hograisers to attack with imports driving down farmgate prices.

Now, we witness how they're succumbing to mandatory culling meaning they lose present stock and need a lot of capital to restart.

Since the disease is already here decimating the industry, I urge Malacañang to call as many Filipino scientists and veterinarians back to the country.

Many of them occupy high positions in the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations.

I also recognize the various task forces organized by Agricuture Sec. William Dar who is assisted by the private sector.

Still, we have to more than double our manpower, equipment and financial resources to address ASF until the whole of the Philippines is declared ASF- free.

Pork-eating Filipinos should feel safe eating pork without the lingering fear that they're eating diseased meat.

Our hog raisers should regain their lost livelihoods from Benguet to Davao as all our islands register ASF infection. I urge government to invite all Balik-Scientists who hold the key in beefing up efforts to combat ASF.

We second the good senator’s motion.