Bacolod City – Amid the culling of more than 2,000 pigs in Negros Occidental, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson maintained that the province remains ASF (African Swine Fever) free, stressing that the deaths of hogs was due to cholera.
Lacson disclosed that 18 of the 27 samples they sent to the Department of Agriculture for laboratory examinations yielded negative results.
According to Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Placeda Lemana, ASF and hog cholera cases manifest similar symptoms.
In order to stop the spread of hog cholera, Lacson ordered the setting up of border controls among local government units, to “protect also good standing barangays.”
Lacson issued an executive order creating the Provincial Incident Management Team, similar to the PIMT of COVID-19, to focus on swine diseases.
The culling of pigs is confined to the 3rd and 4th districts of Negros Occidental, composed of 11 towns and cities, which are now being red flagged.
In San Enrique town, which forms part of the 4th district of Negros Occidental, Mayor Jilson Tubillara reported that 736 pigs being raised in backyards died of hog cholera, excluding unreported cases, which may reach more than 1,000, since April.
Tubillara expressed fears that pigs in San Enrique may all be killed by hog cholera.
They even used heavy equipment to bury the dead hogs, while some were even thrown into a river by irresponsible backyard raisers, he added.
Hog cholera, also called swine fever or classical swine fever, is a serious and often fatal viral disease of swine, characterized by high fever and exhaustion, according to the Department of Health.
Tubillara noted that pigs have died every day in San Enrique.
Despite the hog cholera deaths and possible shortages of pork in the market, Lacson said they will not stop commercial hog raisers from delivering outside of the province, where they have commitments.
While Negros Occidental has remained ASF free for several years now, Lacson recently met with mayors and Lemana to discuss the options to be initiated if the province is hit by ASF.
One thing is for sure, we should not repopulate if ever the disease is around, and stop the business for three to four months, the governor said.
There are also suggestions for backyard raisers to limit the selling of their hogs within their respective local government units, Lacson added. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)