BACOLOD City – Amid African swine fever (ASF) scare, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson has appealed to travelers not to bring pork to Negros Occidental. Authorities on Monday confirmed cases of the deadly pig disease in Luzon.
“We’re asking our Negrenses, especially if you have relatives coming home from Manila, or even from out of the country, please don’t bring pork. Let’s just buy local pork,” the governor said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
Lacson chairs the Provincial ASF Task Force, which he formed last month to ensure the protection of the P6-billion swine industry of the province.
Negros Occidental is the Philippines’ top backyard swine producer, figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
The Department of Agriculture confirmed that ASF caused the depopulation of more than 7,000 hogs in Bulacan and Rizal farms last month.
In a report, Agriculture secretary William Dar stated that 14 out of the 20 blood samples from the infected hogs sent to the United Kingdom for confirmatory tests came up positive for ASF.
The DA is still verifying if the ASF strain is similar to that which spread in Vietnam and China.
The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) also called for sustained vigilance among Negrenses against ASF.
Dr. Renante Decena, provincial veterinarian, said shippers and travelers should follow quarantine procedures and refrain from visiting swine farms in Luzon.
“Don’t bring in pork and pork products from Luzon,” Decena said.
He pointed out that as there are already positive cases in the area, the traveling public is now possible carriers of the disease.
“Shoes and clothing, or even indirect contact with swine farms infected of the swine fever, might carry the virus going to Negros,” he added.
In Executive Order 2019-23, Lacson directs the ASF task force to carry out the proper implementation of the ASF prevention and control measures, enhance biosecurity practices in all ports of entry and swine production facilities, and coordinate and cooperate with the appropriate national government agencies in case of a suspected outbreak.
The body is also tasked to enhance biosecurity practices in all ports of entry and swine production facilities, conduct initial disease investigation and institute outbreak control protocols in case of a suspected outbreak, and impose closure of any farm confirmed to be infected with ASF.
Records of PVO showed that Negros Occidental has a current annual swine production of 510,000 heads from both backyard and commercial raisers. (With a report from PNA/PN)