Over 1,000 pigs killed due to disease

TACLOBAN CITY-The Department of Agriculture (DA) here in the region said that the African Swine Fever (ASF) problem in Leyte province could now be considered as under control.
Francis Rosaroso, DA regional information officer, said that there are no new ASF cases in the affected towns of Abuyog, La Paz and Javier since these areas reported of cases beginning Jan.15.
“We can say that it is now under control,” he said in a phone interview.
According to him, the proactive stance of the affected local government units like immediate installation of border checkpoints and the depopulation of hogs, both with or without symptoms of the disease, contributed a lot for the situation be placed under control now.
Rosaroso said that even towns with no ASF cases have put up their own border checkpoints to ensure no pigs, both alive and dead, could enter their areas.
Among these towns are Barugo and Burauen which also declared a pork holiday beginning Jan.23 until Jan. 29.
It was learned from Rosaroso that the towns of Abuyog, La Paz and Javier have declared a two-week pork holiday starting Jan. 15.
During this time, the selling and slaughtering of pigs would not be allowed, to include chilled or frozen, uncooked and semi-cooked. The meat sections of the public markets of the towns which declared pork holidays are also closed during this period.
For his part, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla asked the cooperation of the hog raisers in the province, especially in areas where are confirmed ASF cases, to cooperate to the efforts being mounted by the LGUS and the agriculture department to ensure that the disease affecting the hog industry would not further spread in the province which has a hog population of more than 127,000.
Meantime, Rosaroso said that since they started depopulating swines in the three towns of Abuyog, La Paz and Javier, 1,451 pigs have been culled and buried in pits.
The three towns have combined hog populations of 16,835. Subject for depopulation are those pigs where there are confirmed ASF cases and those located within the 500-meter radius where there are such cases.
“There were hog raisers who resisted claiming that some of their pigs have no symptoms of ASF but we have to depopulate those even without symptoms for us to control any further spread of ASF,” he said.
It was learned from Rosaroso that the three LGUs have offered financial assistance to the more than 200 affected hog raisers ranging from P200 to P5,000.
In Eastern Samar, Governor Ben Evardone issued an executive order banning the entry of pork and pork products for 60 days ‘to safeguard the health and safety of our people.’
Several local government units in the region have already made the same move like the province of Northern Samar and the cities of Maasin, Ormoc and Tacloban.