DUMAGUETE CITY – Negros Oriental continues to remain free from Asian swine fever (ASF) even as President Rodrigo Duterte declared on Tuesday a state of calamity in the entire country due to the outbreak of the highly contagious viral infection that affects pigs.
Dr. Alfonso Tundag, quarantine officer of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in Negros Oriental, in an interview Wednesday, said the state of calamity declaration will help contain the ASF spread that has already affected many parts of the country.
“Although our office has not yet received specific instructions regarding the declaration, I believe that it has something to do with the spread of the ASF and how to contain it because when the outbreak started last year, only a few areas were affected,” he said in mixed English and Cebuano dialect.
The disease that affects domestic hogs and wild pigs started out in some parts of Luzon but has now spread to some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Regions 6 and 7 or the Western and Central Visayas, respectively, are still ASF-free but some provinces in Region 8 or Eastern Visayas, like Samar and Leyte, are now suffering from the effects of the animal disease, Tundag said.
The quarantine officer said he is hopeful that with the country under a state of calamity, the provincial government and the local government units will be able to allocate some amount from their respective calamity funds for additional interventions, such as the fielding of more inspectors at entry and exit points in the province.
Negros Oriental, by virtue of an order issued by Gov. Roel Degamo, does not allow the entry of hogs, pork meat and by-products from places affected by the ASF, Tundag said.
He appealed to Oriental Negrenses to cooperate so as to sustain the province’s efforts in preventing the entry of ASF here.
Tundag is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Provincial Veterinary Officer Jaime Villaluz to discuss the state of calamity over the ASF under Proclamation 1143, which the President said will run until the end of the year “unless earlier lifted as circumstances may warrant”. (PNA)