Bacolod task force created to thwart ASF
BACOLOD CITY –– Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia has created a task force to protect the city’s swine population from being infected with the African Swine Fever (ASF).
“There is a need to adopt measures to prevent great economic loss and protect the swine industry of the city,” Leonardia said in issuing Executive Order 27 which created the city task force against the African Swine Fever (ASF).
The task force was also ordered to conduct a massive information and awareness campaign on ASF, conduct investigations, and implement quarantine measures when needed.
The task force is chaired by Leonardia with City Agriculture Officer Goldwyn Nifras as vice-chairman.
Ban on pork
Last week, the Negros Occidental provincial government imposed a 90-day ban on the entry of pork from Luzon and countries where hogs have been hit by ASF to safeguard the swine industry of the province.
In July, Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson also created an ASF Task Force to protect the province.
“Visayas and Mindanao are free of ASF and we have to keep it that way,” Lacson said.
Meanwhile, the prices of pork in Negros Occidental have dropped by P5 to P10 a kilo amid the ASF scare.
Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said pork prices dropped because the ASF scare was causing a similar reaction as when avian flu hit chickens last year.
He said the drop in pork prices was due to high supply and low demand.
However, Decena did not expect the fear of eating pork to last long since there is a massive information campaign to allay the fears of the public.
Last weekend, Decena said the provincial task force held the entry of two shipments of meat from Germany totaling 14 tons since the country was hit by ASF in July.
However, since the products were manufactured in March, they were eventually allowed entry.
Checkpoints, landing permits
The task force will require landing permits for meat being brought into the province through the Bacolod, San Carlos and Escalante seaports as a safeguard against ASF.
Checkpoints have also been set up at the ports to determine the origin of the pork entering the province, he said.
The safeguards in Negros and Bacolod are up because according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), ASF is a severe and highly contagious viral disease among domestic and wild pigs.
Contaminated pork-fed pigs
“It is commonly introduced into a herd after feeding on uncooked or undercooked contaminated pork products which are then ingested by the pig. The virus is then spread between pigs by direct contact with an infected pig, or ingestion of contaminated material (such as food waste, feed, or garbage). It can also be transmitted by contaminated fomites, or ticks, or blood-sucking insects if present,” a government advisory said.
Pigs infected with the ASF virus experience high fever, depression, loss of appetite, redness of ears, abdomen, and legs, vomiting, and diarrhea that may lead to death.
There is no vaccine or treatment for ASF, the advisory added.
In Eastern Visayas, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Eastern Visayas has also put up precautionary measures to ensure that the disease would not enter the region.
Francis Rosaroso, regional information of DA-8, said among the measure that their office made was the installation of major checkpoints in all entry points in the region.
These checkpoints are located in Allen, Northern Samar, Ormoc City in Leyte, and San Ricardo in Southern Leyte.
Rosaroso said 70 percent of Eastern Visayas’ hog supplies came from outside the region, mostly from Mindanao with the remaining 30 percent from local backyard piggeries.
“We have put up checkpoints in several entries and exit points in the region to ensure that all the hogs entering the region are free from African swine fever,” he said.
ASF-free Eastern Visayas
According to him, Eastern Visayas remained ASF-free.
In Cebu, the Task Force on African Swine Fever has shipped back a total of 298 pigs back to its province of origin as it implements the ban ordered by Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia since last month.
The value of the pigs denied entry into Cebu reached P1.4 million at P5,000 per head.
At least 100 of these live hogs came from Masbate province while others were from Negros Oriental.
Dr. Mary Rose Vincoy, provincial veterinarian, said the pigs lacked documents required under the governor’s ban.
“We are doing this to protect our swine industry. So for those who have businesses or trading in Cebu just make sure you have the documents. Otherwise, don’t ship pigs yet,” Vincoy said. /lzb
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