Two more Iloilo towns tagged as ASF ‘red zones’

By John Noel E. Herrera

The towns of Barotac Nuevo and Dumangas in Iloilo province have been tagged as “red zones” or infected areas after two or more barangays in said municipalities reported confirmed cases of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Iloilo Provincial Veterinary Office (IPVO) confirmed that swine specimen samples from Brgy. Cruz, Barotac Nuevo tested positive for ASF using the convective PCR (cPCR) test.

IPVO head Dr. Darel Tabuada earlier noted that the municipal agriculturist of Barotac Nuevo reported unexplained hog deaths in the area and requested the IPVO for blood collection for testing.

Eugene Decastillo Jr., municipal agriculturist of Dumangas, Iloilo, also reported that two out of three blood samples from Brgys Jardin and Ermita tested positive for ASF.

Decastillo added that one of the pigs was initially brought to their local slaughterhouse wherein the personnel noticed some ASF symptoms, the reason for them to subject the pigs to blood testing.

It is also the first reported ASF case in Dumangas, raising the number of ASF-affected municipalities in the province to nine.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. earlier issued Executive Order No. 460-F, implementing adjusted quarantine procedures and disease prevention and control measures against ASF in the province.

The EO also stated that movements of live pigs, pork, pork products (fresh/frozen products and uncooked processed pork products, except cooked and canned processed pork products), and swine genetic materials in and out of the tagged ASF-red zone towns are prohibited.

The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Administrative Order 52 stated that a specific municipality will only be placed under a “red zone” if two or more barangays were already affected, while if the case was logged in one area or site, only the area within the 500-meter radius of the index case will be placed under the “red zone” ASF zoning classification.

Recent data from IPVO also revealed that all ASF-affected towns in Iloilo province are already tagged as “red zone” areas, which include Oton with 31 affected barangays, San Miguel (six affected barangays), Leganes (six affected barangays), Santa Barbara (six affected barangays), and the towns New Lucena, Alimodian, Mina, Barotac Nuevo, and Dumangas with two affected barangays, respectively.

Meanwhile, Defensor also said that despite the spread of ASF in towns, the province is slowly adjusting its approaches and responses to ASF as the local leaders already knew how to deal with ASF.

“Right now, our people are not panicking anymore. The practical situation is that, sa akon observation sa raw reports, I think the province is slowly adjusting, ang treatment is daw parehos lang bala sang iban nga masakit nga nag-agi sa aton, we make protocols, we inform people” Defensor earlier said.

The governor also cited the province’s existing executive orders which aimed to strengthen the measures to contain the spread of ASF, just like the TaHuM (Tapak, Hugas kag Matinlo nga Pagpakaon) campaign and the Pork Festival Kontra ASF.

The Iloilo Provincial Government has already started distributing cash assistance to ASF-affected farmers in Iloilo, which was taken from the approved P40 million supplemental budget of the province.

Tabuada earlier said that a total of 192 affected hog raisers in Oton, Iloilo are expected to receive their cash aid as Oton Mayor Sofronio L. Fusin Jr., already received the check worth P1,646,000 from the provincial government last week.

A cash aid amounting to P7,000 will be given to farmers who had one to five hog heads that were depopulated; P10,000 for six to 10 heads; P15,000 for 11 to 15 heads; P20,000 for 16 to 20 heads; P25,000 for 21 to 25 heads; and P30,000 for 26 heads and above.

Recent data from IPVO indicated that the number of depopulated hogs is at 1,852, while there are already 193 farmers who are affected by the depopulation.