NegOcc guv cautious on ASF declaration

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Wednesday said he is cautious in declaring the province as African Swine Fever (ASF)-infected amid reports that a case has been detected in Pulupandan town.

“We have not received any confirmation with regard to the ASF case in the province. I understand there were four pool samples, of the four there is one positive, although we have not officially received that report,” the governor told reporters in a press briefing at the provincial capitol here.

He pointed out that the province is already taking measures and “we are following the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry protocol, so we will isolate that area where one pig was found ASF positive.”

He said a 500-meter restricted radius will be maintained in the area where the ASF-positive pig was detected. A 15-day observation will also be imposed.

“If there is no repeat of such incident, then we can say it is just isolated, but if there is, then we will just continue with DA-BAI protocol of 7-kilometer and then 10-kilometer radius,” Lacson said.

He also reiterated that the provincial government has already passed protocols to address the worst-case scenario.

“Let us be very careful, let us not rush to declare the province as ASF infected like in this case, four samples were tested only one turned out positive, if we declare ASF affected, kawawa naman yung owners of the remaining three, that is 75 percent, that is why we have to be very careful.”

He also said that the result of the RT PCR test on four pool blood samples from Pulupandan was not officially forwarded to the province.

Lacson said the report can affect the swine industry adding “that is why we have to be very careful.”

He further stressed that “what I am saying is we are not just sitting down and letting it happen, we are doing protocols to try to avoid the spread if ever, whatever disease that may be.”

When asked if the province can be declared as ASF infected with the case in Pulupandan, the governor said “no, because that report was not even forwarded to the provincial government officially.”

He also said that so far, hog products from the province are still being shipped out “that is why we have to be very careful gid. May mga cargo ships pa ga baton sang aton products.”

“We still have a lot of healthy pigs around, that is why we should not be quick in declaring ASF, kawawa naman ang mga hog raisers naton,” the governor said.

A document from the Veterinary Laboratory Division of the Bureau of Animal Industry of the Department of Agriculture that reached some media outfits here Wednesday showed that the four pool samples gathered May 23, 2023 were sent for RT-PCR test for ASF on May 30, 2023.

The result came out on the same day with one pool sample positive for ASF.