OFFICIALS in Benguet have declared temporary ban on the entry of live pigs following a positive case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the province.
Benguet Governor Melchor Diclas and Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Miriam Tiongan said samples taken from suspected infected pigs to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Reference Laboratory of Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) yielded positive for ASF.
Diclas, in Executive Order 2020-010, declared temporary lockdown on the entry of live pigs in the province until such time that the BAI-Department of Agriculture (DA) assure safety of the swine industry.
"Due to the great demand for pigs, some unscrupulous shippers resorted to deceitful acts (transport of undocumented pigs in private vehicles to evade checkpoints, fake documents, declaration of sources, unauthorized reproduction of ASF negative test) in order to bring in their commodities into the province," the EO said.
Authorities earlier intercepted 52 piglets in a pick-up truck, which lack required permits and clearance in Barangay Beckel, La Trinidad. The piglets later showed signs of weakness and continuous mortality occurred.
It was further found out that the pigs were found to be ASF-positive based on the result of the Rapid Test Kit conducted by the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian.
Tests that were forwarded to the central office also confirmed the pigs are ASF-positive.
After thorough investigation, the piglets were buried in an area where there are no adjacent piggeries.
Tiongan said that in Camp 1, Tuba, 177 pigs were culled from a piggery farm following confirmation of ASF.
She said the hog raiser himself informed authorities of the incident and opted all his pigs to be de-populated in order to prevent the spread of ASF.
Officials stated they suspect swill feeds locally known as "arasaw" obtained from one of the restaurants in Baguio City as one of the causes of the contamination.
Diclas said they are still discussing the penalties that will be given to violators.
He also reiterated that in order to prevent an ASF outbreak, swill feeding is not allowed, and only pigs from provinces that are ASF-free will be allowed entry.
Under the existing provincial order on the entry of pigs, meat and processed meat products, shipments with falsified and tampered documents will be confiscated at the animal quarantine checkpoints, while the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian is tasked to maintain and update the list of areas that are within the 10-kilometer radius of ASF-infected areas.
Traders transporting live animals must present veterinary health certificate issued by duly licensed veterinarian, negative laboratory test results of different swine diseases including ASF, BAI Livestock Handler's license, BAI livestock carrier certificate, and veterinary shipping permit issued by the BAI and deputized quarantine officer.
They must also have certification from BAI that the farm is ASF-free, as well as barangay certification from the captain of the village of origin certifying that the shipped-in swine are needed from the particular barangay.
Quarantine checkpoints with inspectors were set up along Marcos Highway, Kennon Road, Tadiangan, and Banangan in Sablan; Bokod and Bangao in Buguias; and Colalo in Mankayan.