Guv rules out calamity declaration for ASF

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr.

By John Noel E. Herrera

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said on Thursday, Nov 17, 2022 that the provincial government will not declare a state of calamity in the entire province of Iloilo amid confirmed cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in some towns.

“Right now, no…Nacalculate na naton ang aton mga kinahanglan ubrahon,” Defensor said in his regular press conference.

The provincial government is also continuously implementing strategies against ASF, through the help of all the municipalities, barangays, and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Sa subong padayon ang aton pag-implement sang overall strategy sa ASF. Prevention, containment kung mag positive na, depopulation, and eventually recovery, and ina nga mga measures are ongoing kag iban sina dugay na nag-umpisa. Ang aton gina himo, we are maintaining, and possible intensify ang aton nga perimeter security sa aton pink zone,” the governor said.

“Ang gusto gid naton nga mabuhinan na naton ang mga hosts or pwede halinan sang mga sakit sa sulod sang red zones kag pink zones naton, and that is part of cleansing,” he added.

Iloilo Provincial Veterinary Office (IPVO) revealed that there are other areas in the province with suspected ASF cases and they are just waiting for the result of the tests.

Data from IPVO also indicated that five towns in the province already have confirmed cases.

The towns of Oton, San Miguel, and Leganes were already placed under “red zone” or infected area after they logged two or more barangays with confirmed cases, while in the towns of Alimodian and Santa Barbara, only Brgys. Buhay and Balabag were in the red zone, respectively.

Based on the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Administrative Order 52, a specific municipality will only be placed under a “red zone” if two or more barangays were already affected.

If the case was logged in one area or site, only the area within the 0.5-kilometer radius from the index case will be placed under the “red zone” ASF zoning classification.

The IPVO also revealed that 28 barangays in Oton have confirmed ASF cases, five in San Miguel, and two in Leganes.

Data showed that 834 hog heads in Oton, 218 in San Miguel, 144 in Santa Barbara, 112 in Leganes, and 57 in Alimodian have already been depopulated as of Nov 14, 2022.

ASF also affected 55 hog farmers in Oton, 31 in San Miguel, 28 in Santa Barbara, 27 in Leganes, and 12 in Alimodian.

The IPVO said that they will provide financial assistance to all affected backyard farms and piggeries included in the red and pink zones, as the provincial government is still finalizing the guidelines on how to avail the assistance.

Meanwhile, the provincial government is also set to hold a “Lechon Festival” to encourage hog growers in areas adjacent to places with confirmed ASF cases to earn rather than take the risk of infection, and to raise public awareness about the said disease.

Defensor said that the point of the festival is to create events related to ASF awareness and pork processing, and to “work with the municipalities to stimulate the consumption so that we can eventually recover and repopulate.”

“Ang pork festival damo na siya components, may containment, may prevention component because we will have a campaign on biosecurity measures against ASF for our backyard raisers, we will have trainings, orientation, and seminars,” Defensor added.

The provincial government also wanted the festival to be an agri-tourism promotion “primarily focused on pork-based cuisine that people may be interested in making as their livelihood.

There will also be food preparation demonstrations and food processing seminars as local food entrepreneurs will be taught how to preserve and make pork-processed products.