Leyte border checks tightened as swine disease hits 2 towns
TACLOBAN CITY — The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Eastern Visayas has ordered the culling of hogs in two towns in Leyte province to prevent the spread of African swine fever (ASF) that may have been transmitted through local farms.
The disease was detected in pigs in two villages in La Paz town and three villages in Javier town on Jan. 15 when the DA conducted a “proactive monitoring” of hogs outside Abuyog town, where cases of infection were first reported.
Angel Enriquez, the DA regional director, instructed local officials of La Paz and Javier to slaughter hogs within the 500-meter radius from the affected villages to contain the spread of the virus. ASF cases were reported in Mag-aso and Lunete villages in La Paz, and Comatin, Caranhug and Abuyogay villages in Javier.
Enriquez said local officials must impose strict border security to prevent the transport of infected hogs.
“We would like to assure the public that the concerned local government units, together with the Regional ASF Task Force, will continue to institute proactive measures, such as strict enforcement of quarantine procedures, restriction of animal movement, disinfection and clearing of affected areas,” she said.
She advised hog raisers to observe strict quarantine measures, avoid swill feeding and immediately report any cases of unusual deaths of pigs to the nearest local veterinary or agriculture office.
Enriquez said it was possible that the infection spread through boars being used for natural mating, and hog traders who fed their animals with contaminated food.
The swine disease might have driven prices up in Tacloban, which gets the bulk of Leyte’s pork and related products, said Dr. Eunice Alcantara, city veterinarian. “There is a possibility that prices of pork will increase and we will experience low supply,” she said.
Several areas on Leyte island, like the cities of Ormoc and Maasin, have sealed off their borders to prevent the entry of pigs and other pork-related products contaminated with the swine disease.
Northern Samar Gov. Edwin Marino Ongchuan has issued an order, effective until March 19, to prevent the entry of pigs from Leyte and parts of Luzon and Mindanao, where ASF cases had been reported. —JOEY GABIETA
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.