The Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 is not taking any chances in its efforts to protect Bohol’s P6-billion swine industry amid the spread of the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) in provinces in Luzon and Mindanao.
Bohol is already on total lockdown against hogs from Luzon and Mindanao but DA 7 executive director Salvador Diputado during a meeting attended by agriculture officials, coastal town mayors and industry stakeholders in Tagbilaran City on Thursday called for heightened surveillance on pig farms in the towns and for local government units to account for all backyard hog raisers and their inventory for quicker detection should they be hit by an ASF outbreak.
He laid down protocols in handling suspected cases noting that this should only be carried out by veterinary and quarantine experts equipped with personal protective equipment while hogs infected with the highly contagious disease should be killed humanely and disposed properly.
“Pangingkamutan nato na di makasud pero kung makasud man gani, we are already empowered to react right away, dili ng magsige pa ta’g pangutana unsaon nato ni” he said.
Diputado designated provincial veterinarian Stella Marie Lapiz as focal person in the fight against ASF to investigate suspected cases and lead efforts to contain an outbreak.
“Kung mo sipyat g’yud ta na naay makasud, duna g’yud tay action man dayon, na maoy makaresponde dayon diri sa probinsya kung pananglit dunay ASF outbreak diri sa Bohol,” he said.
The agriculture official appealed for active response from the Philippine National Police who will be at the frontlines in the implementation of biosecurity protocol during an outbreak.
They will be tasked to cordon off affected areas to prevent the further spread of the hog-borne disease.
Diputado also called on the Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Police to boost monitoring efforts, noting that some pig traders have resorted to delivering hogs onboard pumpboats in the wee hours to avoid detection.
Last week, acting Governor Rene Relampagos issued Executive Order No. 5, expanding the current ban on the entry of live hog, pork and pork-related products into the province.
The EO bars the entry of live hogs, pork and pork-related products sourced from ASF-stricken Mindanao.
It is implemented on top of an existing EO which bans the entry of Luzon-sourced pigs and pork products.
In her report, Lapiz noted that ASF has affected the following localities: Bataan, Zambales, Aurora, Tarlac, Nueva Viscaya, Cagayan, Kalinga, Rizal, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Quezon City, Malabon City, Caloocan City and Davao Occidental.
“Si Bohol karon, mura na ta’g gi sandwich sa mga positive area. So nagkaduol na ang threat,” she said.