ASF ‘contained effectively’ in NorMin: DA-10

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DAVAO CITY — The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO-10) assured on Wednesday, November 18, that affected hog raisers in Iligan City will be compensated with their hogs to be culled because of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

In a press briefing dubbed as Talakayan sa PIA, DA-RFO 10 Executive Director Carlene Collado, said the Northern Mindanao Hog Raisers (NorMinHog) will pay the affected hog farmers P2,000 while the DA will pay P5,00 per culled hog.

The city government of Iligan had also allocated P1.5 million to support the affected farmers according to city information officer Jose Pantoja.

“The P5,000 from the DA will be released upon submission of complete documents to the DA Central Office,” Collado said.

The DA confirmed on Wednesday that the serum specimen samples taken from hog livestock from four sitios in Barangay Pugaan were tested and turned up positive for the ASF viral DNA.

Collado said coordination and ground activities to contain the disease were conducted with the Regional ASF Task Force and the local government of Iligan isolating the affected area, eliminating the infected animals and compensating the affected farmers.

Some 664 hogs were culled, owned by 149 backyard swine farmers, were culled as of November 18.

City Veterinarian Dr. Dahlia Valera said the owners first reported on November 12 that hogs were seen weak and chilling, the symptoms that of the ASF and hog cholera.

“As preventive measure, we immediately depopulated the hogs and buried in an area in Barangay Pugaan,” Valera said.

Amy Lastimoso, team leader of OroVet, an association of hog raisers and feed suppliers in Northern Mindanao, said they were deployed since November 13 to contain the entire Barangay Pugaan to make sure no live hogs and no pork meats and or any pork product could be brought inside or outside the barangay.

“Pito ka mga entry and exit points sa Pugaan among gibantayan. Inspection sa mga sakyanan nga mosulod og mogawas. Kung dunay dalang karne, bisan balon, basta karneng baboy, ikumpiska namo. That’s the instruction given to us,” Lastimoso said.

(There are seven entry and exit points in Pugaan that we establish checkpoints. We inspect all the vehicles and confiscate all the pork meats and or pork products. That was instruction given to us.)

Maricar Surban, owner of a small carenderia inside Pugaan market, said the effect of the ASF is a big blow to her since she is still recovering from the pandemic.

“Nalipay na unta ko nga makabalik nami og pamaligya human sa pandemic pero naa napud ni nga problema,” Surban said.

(I was happy that we were allowed again to open but there is this problem again.)

Before the reported ASF, she would sell one pork menu worth P500 in a day, but no one have ordered it when the news about the disease came out.

Engr. Teod Gayo, a lechon dealer and owner of three food courts in two malls in Iligan City, said the effect has started when two clients cancelled their lechon (grilled pig) orders for a party.

“I have 15 orders for this month but two of them cancelled. I communicated with the other clients and ask of they would do the same, they said they are not. Maybe they know that ASF does not affect to humans,” Gayo said.

He feared if the disease will continue to affect the community his business will be affected too.

“It is a domino effect. I have two suppliers from Barangay Pugaan. They have stopped supplying me live hogs. We have to buy from outside Iligan and a bit pricey. Orders may lower and I may have to lay off again some employees,” Gayo shared his worries.

Hwne the pandemic broke out in March, he has to permanently close his food court inside Gaisano Mall and temporarily close one inside the Robinsons mall.

Nine of his 18 employees were laid off because of the negative cash flow he said.

“Kung magpadyaon ning problema sa ASF, mapugos kog paundang napud aning ubang mga trabahante nako. Sila ang mas makalolooy kay naa paman koy laing negosyo nga magpadayon but I can’t hire them there kay construction man to, dili sila qualified didto,” Gayo said.

(When the ASF problem will continue, I will be forced to lay them off. They are in the difficult situation. I have no problem because I still have other business but I cannot hire them there because it is a construction business, they are not qualified to be there.)

With the compensation the government was given to the hog raisers, Gayo also wish suppliers like his will also be considered.

Collado gave an assurance that the Regional ASF Task Force, concerned LGUs, hog industry, and other stakeholders are doing their best to isolate, eliminate and compensate (IEC), as well as manage, contain, and control the viral disease.

He called for support in disseminating to the public that ASF is a deadly viral disease to hogs with no vaccine and could greatly affect the swine industry of Region 10, if not contained.

“We are appealing to the public to respect and step on the footbath on the respective Animal Quarantine Stations and to refrain from bringing in from ASF affected areas any pork and its by-products,” Collado further said.

He also urged online sellers of siomai, kekiam, longganisa and other pork by-products to ensure the origin of their products and secure business permits from their LGUs. Backyard raisers and all concerned are also advised to refrain from swill feeding.

Earlier, Iligan City Mayor Celso G. Regencia ordered the City Veterinarian’s Office and the Iligan City Police Office to restrict animal movement in all parts of the city, especially in Pugaan, including entry to Barangay Mandulog, Pala-o, Abuno, and Tipanoy. He also ordered stricter surveillance and monitoring of transport of live pigs as well as pork products entered in the city.

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