Marikina City Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro declared the Marikina River as free from the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.
“Based on the ASF virus analysis of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, (the) Marikina River tested negative for ASF,” Teodoro told reporters.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) took water samples from three stations – the Circulo Verde in Pasig; the boundary of Jesus dela Peña and Sta. Elena; and Bayabas St. in Barangay Nangka.
The clinical laboratory report given to the local government of Marikina was signed by LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina.
Last month, a total of 65 pig carcasses were retrieved from the Marikina River. The carcasses started to surface on Sept. 12, despite the city having no piggery or slaughterhouse.
“Maybe because we were able to quickly retrieve the carcasses of the pigs, that’s why the level of contamination is not so much. We were able to remove 65 carcasses from the river,” the local chief executive said.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) told Teodoro that the fish in the city’s river are safe to eat.
The BFAR report showed that while pollutants in the Marikina River have increased, they were still within the regulatory limit of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The BFAR tested the samples for Staphylococcus Aureus, Ecoli, and Salmonella bacteria.
“The pollutants increased because the biochemical oxygen demand increased. But the fact remains that the fish tested for Ecoli and Staphylococcus Aureus, (was) below the regulatory limit. Meaning, it is safe to consume and eat fish from (the) Marikina River,” Teodoro said.
“Salmonella ay absent sa water, wala siya. Iyong Staphylococcus Aureus, kapag mayroon, it causes gastroenteritis. Ang Salmonella naman, typhoid ang makukuha (Salmonella is absent in the water. Staphylococcus Aureus causes gastroenteritis. Salmonella, meanwhile, causes typhoid fever),” he added.
On Tuesday, the mayor met with some 300 fishermen of the Marikina River to tell them about the good news — the lifting of the fish ban.
“I lifted the fish ban based on the report conducted by BFAR. Iyon ang naging basis ko (That was my basis) to lift the fishing ban. Fishermen and residents are now allowed to fish and swim in the river,” the mayor said.
The probe, which seeks to find where the pig carcasses came from, is still ongoing.
Teodoro assured that people behind the dumping of pig carcasses in the Marikina River would be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Earlier, Teodoro said the city has provided the Department of Agriculture (DA) with a “lead of information” that could possibly point to the source of the dead pigs.
“(The city is) serious in filing cases against the culprit, whoever would be found in violation of (the) clean water act, and sanitation law,” said Teodoro.
“Magpa-file kami ng civil case para maka-claim ng damages for the man-hour, equipment, manpower na na-consume ng city sa pagki-clear at paglilibing ng mga baboy na ‘yan (We will file a civil case so that we can claim damages for the man hour, equipment, manpower the city consumed for clearing and burying the pig carcasses),” he said.
He noted that the culprits were civilly liable and criminally accountable because “it can be considered as illegal dumping of pollutant.”
Meanwhile, the DA has deployed a team from the Bureau of Animal Industry to Montalban, Rizal to investigate the improper dumping of dead pigs retrieved from the Marikina River. (PNA)