‘HOG CONTAINMENT’: Council proposes hog, pork transport ban due to suspected ASF case

Local officials said they are on top of the situation amid reports of a suspected Asian Swine Fever case in Oton, Iloilo.

By Joseph B.A. Marzan and John Noel Herrera

The Regional Agricultural and Fisheries Council on Friday, October 14, issued a resolution recommending the containment of hogs within a 50-kilometer radius of Oton town in Iloilo province due to suspected cases of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

The resolution also recommends banning the movement of hogs and pork products within and outside of the region while authorities investigate the suspected ASF case.

The resolution cites the 80-kilometer distance between the town and the Sibalom Integrated Livestock and Poultry Raisers Association in Sibalom, Antique, which is the largest hog-raising and trading organization in the region.

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia also issued an executive order on Thursday night banning the entry of hogs and pork products from Panay Island due to the suspected ASF case.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson issued a similar edict, which also includes Guimaras.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. expressed his openness to the Cebu order to Daily Guardian via phone interview, saying, “It is what it is. If that’s what they want, they can do so,” emphasizing that this was a similar containment measure to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defensor also said that based on data, they have already depopulated the affected hogs in the province of Oton.

“Gin depopulate naton ang mga baboy sa sulod sang piggery nga affected kay may mga iban nga baboy nga nagmasakit kag napatay kag nagrapid test kita amu to nga may preliminary findings nga may ASF kita. So nag-execute na kita all along since yesterday,” Defensor said in a phone interview.

The governor added that they sent the samples to the Department of Agriculture Central Office in Manila for a confirmatory test.

Data indicated that a total of 305 hogs from only one piggery in Oton, Iloilo were depopulated or killed as of Oct 14, 2022.

“We have already established our containment area based on the quarantine procedures and protocols from the Department of Agriculture from the index cases in ground zero and nag checkpoint kita nga hindi na magwa ang mga baboy dira” Defensor said.

Defensor also emphasizes that the resolution released by the Department of Agriculture and Fishery Council should be withdrawn as it is not an official statement.

“(The resolution) that should be withdrawn kay hindi na sya official kag we are asking nga i-withdraw anay na sa circulation because the council is only an advisory council,” Defensor said.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas also issued a statement saying that the public has to be vigilant, and added that they are already in coordination with the Iloilo provincial government and other relevant authorities, highlighting that it may also impact the city.

The Department of Agriculture-Region 6 has refused to issue any response on the matter, citing an internal memorandum that requires regional and other offices of the agency to seek clearance from their central office before granting any media interviews, press releases, or statements.

The Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2021 Swine Situation Report cited Iloilo province as the 4th top hog-producing province in the country, with 82,924 metric tons produced last year. (With a report from Dolly Yasa)