‘HOGGING OUT’: Another Iloilo town declares state of calamity due to ASF

Personnel of the Iloilo City slaughterhouse in Jaro district disinfects pigs before they are processed as part of measures to prevent the spread of the African Swine Fever. (LEEO photo)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan and Jennifer Rendon

Another Iloilo town on Monday declared a state of calamity after confirming its initial cases of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

The San Miguel town council on Monday approved the request of town mayor Marina Gorriceta in a special session, after officials from the Iloilo Provincial Veterinary Office (IPVO) recommended the action.

Gorriceta was told that 4 out of 240 pigs that were tested in Iloilo City were positive for ASF.

It was also reported that 3 to 4 pigs had died due to abortion, which is an ASF symptom.

“We cannot do anything else more but to declare [a state of calamity] because it doesn’t seem to be stoppable [at this point],” Gorriceta said in a phone call.

Under the state of calamity, the San Miguel local government unit (LGU), assisted by the IPVO, will conduct depopulation within a 500-meter radius from where the first positive cases were identified.

The mayor was unable to state how much of their LGU’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) would be allocated for ASF response but said that assistance to farmers may form part of this allocation.

She also cited a P10,000 assistance for each affected farmer from the Iloilo provincial government and mulled asking for additional support if the LGU’s QRF would be insufficient.

San Miguel Vice Mayor Bonifacio Salapantan Jr. said the town was immediately placed under state of calamity after four cases of ASF were recorded in Barangay San Jose.

Salapantan noted that San Jose is adjacent to Barangay Cabolo-an Sur, which is one of the villages in Oton with confirmed ASF cases.

San Miguel is the second town to declare a state of calamity due to the ASF, following Oton which made its own local declaration last Oct 20.

Oton, where the first suspected ASF cases were detected, now has 122 confirmed ASF cases, provincial veterinarian Dr. Darel Tabuada told Bombo Radyo Iloilo on Sunday.

The cases are scattered throughout 23 barangays of Oton – Abilay Norte, Batuan Ilaud, Batuan Ilaya, Bita Norte, Bita Sur, Botong, Buray, Caboloan Norte, Caboloan Sur, Cadinglian, Calamaisan, Galang, Mambog, Pakiad, Poblacion South, Poblacion West, Salngan, Sambaludan, San Antonia, Sta. Clara, Sta. Monica, Sta. Rita, and Tagbak Norte.

From a one-kilometer radius, the local governmentof Oton has extended the ASF infected area to seven-kilometer radius from the ground zero, which is Barangay Bita Norte, where the first confirmed ASF case was recorded.

More than a week ago, towns in the first district of Iloilo has started the conduct ASF border checkpoints to control the spread of ASF.

The Oton local government, together with the Bureau of Animal Industry and the Department of Agriculture, has heightened its monitoring and surveillance following the confirmation of the first ASF case.

Last week, Oton has been classified as “red” area based on Iloilo province’s zoning plan to prevent ASF outbreak.

At that time, San Miguel, along with the towns of Pavia and Tigbauan and Iloilo City, are on pink (buffer) zone.

Earlier, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has directed the Department of Agriculture in the region to test all pig breeding to avert the ASF spread.

Reports indicated that Oton has around 1,642 hog raisers with an 11,500-hog inventory.


Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas told Daily Guardian that he would ban the entry of live hogs, boar semen, and all pork and pork products from San Miguel, similar to the ban imposed on Oton on Oct 15.

Prior to this, Treñas held his regular press conference at the Iloilo City Hall, where various city government officials discussed their responses to the ASF outbreak in the province.

City Agriculturist Iñigo Garingalao said they were able to conduct 95 inspections at border checkpoints, including 27 heads of live hogs from Tapaz, Capiz, which were turned back because they did not have proper documentation.

Dr. Suzette Leal from the City Veterinarian’s Office said that hog producers from southern Iloilo outside of Oton used other routes within the province to enter the city to avoid the town.

The city slaughterhouse’s officer-in-charge Ruby Firmeza said that they are strictly implementing the ban of live hogs and pork from Oton. Carriers and hogs are being sprayed with disinfectant upon entry.

Firmeza said that the processing of pigs at the slaughterhouse has not been affected so far by the ASF cases outside the city, with 300 heads processed per night.

The Local Economic Enterprise Office also has personnel inspecting the entry of pork and pork products entering public markets, turning away any slaughtered pic that does not have a Meat Inspection Certification from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

As there have been no identified ASF infections in the city, Leal clarified that their strategies so far include surveillance and monitoring.