ILOILO CITY – The Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas saw the need to boost public awareness on the impact of African swine fever (ASF) as the animal disease is now affecting the province of Capiz.
“It’s the result of the surveillance of the province. We received samples on Feb. 22 and the next day the result of the polymerase chain reaction test turned out positive for the ASF,” said DA Western Visayas OIC-regional executive director, Engr. Jose Albert Barrogo, in an interview on Friday.
He said that all 18 samples from a backyard farm in Barangay Canapian in the municipality of Maayon were positive as per the test conducted by the Regional Animal Diseases and Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL).
The DA executive said the local government has been provided with the protocol that includes depopulation of hogs within the 500-meter radius of the infected site.
“We give them the protocol but the implementation is with the local government unit. We only assist if they wanted to depopulate within the 500-meter radius,” he added.
Barrogo said there is a need to boost public awareness to protect the PHP30- to PHP31-billion swine industry in the region.
He added that it is expected to slowly spread in Panay Island if the people will not be educated on “how serious the problem is.”
With the inclusion of Capiz as among the ASF-infected areas, only Antique and Aklan in Panay island remain ASF-free.
Iloilo continues to battle the animal disease that has already spread in its 22 towns.
“While they may claim that it will not be harmful to humans, but then they haven’t seen the effects to the industry,” he said.
The department has already partnered with shipping firms for the continuous showing of their information videos about the ASF.
He said they have already provided Aklan with a disinfection vehicle.
Antique, on the other hand, has a lower risk since the volume of hogs and pork products coming in to the province is not that huge; and mostly they supply hogs outside of the province.
Barrogo said they will be creating local livestock technicians and incentives will also be provided to barangay biosecurity officers to intensify their surveillance campaign.
Negros Occidental will be the first to benefit since there is an immediate need to protect the province that hosts national and internationally accredited breeders.
They will also do the same in Capiz since the province is also proactive in its campaign, Barrogo added.
Aside from Iloilo and Capiz, the animal disease has been recorded in two municipalities in Guimaras. (PNA)