ASF detected in a Negros Occidental City
BACOLOD CITY — At least nine pigs tested positive for African swine fever (ASF) in Victorias City, Negros Occidental.
The city is the second local government in the province to have confirmed cases of the highly contagious viral disease after Pulupandan town, which first recorded an ASF case on May 31.
Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez said during a press conference on Tuesday that seven of the nine positive cases were from Hinigaran town that were delivered to the slaughterhouse of Victorias Foods Corporation (VFC).
“This is not a public health concern. This is an economic concern. What we are doing is being transparent and at the same time protect the industry and our farmers. We need to be transparent and aboveboard about this,” he said.
The Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas’ Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, he said, released the results of the swine test.
Benitez said the city government is exploring options to minimize the impact of the pig deaths on the livelihood of hog raisers in Victorias City, which has a P16-million hog industry.
Of the 1,584 total hog population in Victorias City, 1,425 have been insured with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.
“Alternative livelihoods are being explored,” said Benitez, adding that declaring a state of calamity would be taken into consideration as the impact of the pig deaths is huge for farmers who depend solely on hog raising to provide for the needs of their families.
Dr. John Michael Cabuguason, city veterinarian, said 15 hogs from Barangay Anahaw, Hinigaran, were delivered to the slaughterhouse of Victorias Foods Corporation (VFC) on June 2 and seven were found positive for ASF.
VFC, he said, was ordered to stop slaughtering at its abattoir until the area is disinfected.
“This is the first case of locally transmitted ASF. Immediate containment of infected pork products in the slaughterhouse was implemented. The carcasses and organs were condemned and properly disposed of,” Cabuguason said.
He added: “Only the 15 pigs were at the VFC slaughterhouse on June 2 and no meat went to Victoria’s markets, so they were not able to infect other animals.”
Cabuguason said barangay biosecurity task forces have been activated for active pig surveillance to contain the spread of hog illnesses.
As of Tuesday, pig deaths in 16 localities in Negros Occidental reached 10,729 or 9.49 percent of the province’s hog population on Tuesday, according to the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO).
Most of the hog deaths in the province were caused by cholera and other diseases. So far, 10 have died of ASF, including nine in Victoria City and one from Pulupandan town.
The PVO said affected hog raisers hit 2,031 and losses were pegged at P122 million.