THE Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) of Negros Occidental has urged vigilance in maintaining the province as African Swine Fever (ASF)-free as the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed such cases in some areas in the country.
Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said the public is advised to follow quarantine procedures and refrain from visiting swine farms in Luzon.
"Also don’t bring in pork and pork products from Luzon," he said, stressing that as there are already positive cases in the area, traveling public are possible carriers of the disease.
The DA confirmed it was ASF that killed around 7,000 hogs in Bulacan and Rizal farms last month.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, in a report, said 14 out of the 20 blood samples from the infected hogs sent to the United Kingdom for confirmatory tests came up positive for ASF.
He, however, said that the DA is still verifying if the ASF strain is similar to that which spread in Vietnam and China.
Though the agency has not received reports of more hog deaths up to this time, Dar said strict quarantine and monitoring protocols will remain in place to protect hog farms in other parts of the country.
For Negros Occidental, which is the country's top backyard swine producer, Decena stressed the need to be alert.
"Shoes and clothing, or even indirect contact with swine farms infected of the swine fever, might carry the virus going to Negros," he said.
Earlier, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson stressed the need for Negrenses to stay alert and vigilant in order to protect the P6 billion worth of swine industry of the province.
Lacson chairs the Provincial Task Force on African Swine Fever (ASF), which is conducting a strict monitoring of pork meat products especially those entering the province.
Earlier, it conducted inspection in some local supermarkets, storage facilities and ports.
Lacson pointed out that swine is one of the bigger industries in Negros Occidental.
In fact, the province ranks first in terms of backyard swine production in the country according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
PVO showed that the province's current annual swine production for both backyard and commercial is 510,000 heads.
In 2018, the province's total consumption is 37,000 metric tons (MT).
With the annual production of 54,000 MT, Negros Occidental has a surplus of about 16,000 MT. (With reports from PNA)