Aklan under state of calamity due to ASF

(Photo courtesy of DA-6/file)

By John Noel E. Herrera

The Aklan Provincial Government has declared a state of calamity due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the province.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan earlier approved a resolution declaring a calamity status after seven out of the 17 towns in the province already have confirmed cases of ASF.

“The Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPVET) has confirmed that seven municipalities have already recorded cases of ASF within their jurisdictions, namely: Balete, Tangalan, Makato, Numancia, Kalibo, Batan, and New Washington,” the provincial government said in a statement.

Governor Joen Miraflores said that the calamity status would allow the provincial government to use part of its Quick Response Fund (QRF) to curb the spread of ASF as the livestock industry in the province was already affected by the hog disease.

Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Ma. Cyrosa Leen Mabel Siñel also said that the infected towns should totally ban the movement of pigs in order to limit the spread of the virus, while all municipalities are encouraged to practice “own production for their own consumption.”

Siñel added that the OPVET has been coordinating with the local government units (LGUs) and helping the hog raisers in the affected towns to depopulate the infected pigs.

Data from OPVET as of May 19, 2023 indicated that 426 pigs have already been depopulated since the first ASF case was reported last April.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA)-6 urged LGUs across Western Visayas to strengthen measures against ASF.

“We hereby enjoin our partner LGUs in Western Visayas to be vigilant in implementing and strengthening further precautionary measures for the possible entry and re-entry of ASF through processed meats,” DA-6 Regional Director Jose Albert Barrogo said in a statement.

Barrogo stressed that they have been receiving reports of the re-entry of processed pork products across the region which could lead to the further spread of hog disease.

“ASF virus can still thrive through processed and frozen meat for a very long time and can cause infection when taken in by any animals in the swine species,” Barrogo said.

He added that measures to contain the spread of the ASF virus have been in place, such as the banning of all live hogs and pork-based products from areas with cases of ASF.

To date, only Antique province, Negros Occidental, and Bacolod City remain ASF-free in Western Visayas.