CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Hog raisers in Pampanga assured their cooperation with the ongoing efforts of the provincial government and line agencies in maintaining preventive measures in Pampanga against the African Swine Fever (ASF).

This, as Governor Dennis Pineda asked hog raisers to beef up biosecurity measures in their respective farms.

The hog raisers led by Toto Gonzales also suggested strict monitoring of pork products entering the province and disinfecting of materials used in transporting the pork products. The pig farm owners also asked the governor to issue an executive order asking the backyard piggeries to avoid the practice of swill feeding.

“I know that this requires multi-level and multi-sectoral cooperation. Let us put appropriate measures in place in your pig farms and even in the entire province to avert the possible entry of the dreaded African swine fever. Let us not allow this virus to enter Pampanga,” Governor Pineda said.

Earlier this week, Governor Pineda called for a meeting of stakeholders from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Provincial Veterinary Office and the Department of Agriculture to implement measures to prevent the possible entry of ASF in Pampana.

Governor Pineda said that the provincial government already took preliminary actions with the Department of Agriculture (DA) in order to avoid the entry of the dreaded disease.

In fact, mandatory animal checkpoints were already installed along and in all boundaries of the province.

Governor Pineda had ordered the immediate survey of all livestock farms in Pampanga, as well as an overall inventory of the current backyard hog populations in the province. He also ordered the immediate reporting of pig deaths in the province.

On August 19, Agriculture Secretary William Dar neither confirmed nor denied reports that the ASF virus has reached the Philippines. The agriculture chief, however, had ordered the testing of tissue samples for all types of pig disease.

Samples have already been sent to foreign laboratories for confirmatory testing, which may take two weeks to three months. The DA received reports from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) on August 16 about the increased mortality of pigs raised by farmers in their backyards.

Dar said culling operations are now being undertaken on areas identified in the report. But the agriculture chief did not provide details.