Town declares state of calamity due to ASF

JP. Rendon Photo

By John Noel E. Herrera

The local government of Oton, Iloilo has declared a state of calamity following the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in the town.

Oton Vice Mayor Jose Neil Olivares said that the Oton Municipal Council convened in a special session on Thursday, Oct 20, 2022 to pass a resolution placing the town under a state of calamity.

“(We declared state of calamity) kay naabot na ang 15 percent nga forecast nga affected sang ASF,” Olivares added.

With the declaration, the local government of Oton can now access its Quick Response Fund (QRF) to address concerns regarding ASF.

The town has a standby fund of P5.6 million to combat the cases of ASF in the affected areas, however, the local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council still needs to meet with other concerned agencies and discuss how to use the budget.

“Wala pa kay pungkuan pa na sang MDRRMC (Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council), ma-ubra sila guidelines paano i-prioritize, sin-o i-prioritize nga mahatagan assistance kag diin nga mga barangay masugod, but most likely, didto gid masugod sa index barangay (Bita Norte),” Olivares said.

The municipality will also request assistance from all the concerned government agencies and the provincial government.

Meanwhile, provincial government veterinarian Dr. Darel Tabuada said hog farmers in Oton have lost around P4 million to ASF.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. also said that 395 hogs from one piggery farm and more than five backyard hog raisers in Oton were already depopulated or killed as of Oct 19, 2022.

Defensor said pigs that tested negative for ASF can still be slaughtered by the owners.

The affected barangays also increased to nine including Bita Norte (Index Barangay), Bita Sur, Cabuloan Sur, Santa Monica, Abilay Norte, Tagbac Norte, Galang, and Burayu.

The provincial government earlier issued Executive Order No. 460 implementing “Quarantine Procedures and Disease Preventions and Control Measures Against African Swin Fever.”

Through the EO, the provincial government will be implementing zoning classifications with corresponding colors based on the Department of Agriculture (DA) Administrative Circular No. 2 to strengthen the containment measures against ASF.

The town of Oton, where the province’s first ASF case was detected, was placed under the Infected Zone (Red) for a period of 10 days, starting on Oct 17.

The provincial government also created a Local ASF Task Force to assist the affected areas and intensify the implementation of the issuances stated in the EO, such as monitoring, surveillance, investigations, and operations of conducting the test and destroy protocols.