ACTING Negros Occidental Provincial Veterinarian Placeda Lemana said the African Swine Fever (ASF) Task Force is tightening its monitoring at the Pulupandan Port with the start of the ferry trips between Pulupandan to Guimaras on Saturday, January 21.

Lemana said they are intensifying their campaign against the entry of pork products into the province after the Department of Agriculture confirmed last week a positive case in Guimaras.

Data from DA-6 indicated that some swine samples from Brgy. Sawang, Buenavista, Guimaras tested positive for ASF through convective PCR (cPCR) testing on Dec. 16, 2022.

Guimaras Governor JC Rahman Nava issued Executive Order (EO) No. 118, mandating a temporary ban on the entry and exit of swine, pork, pork products, and by-products to and from the town of Buenavista where the first confirmed ASF case was reported.

The EO also enforced strict implementation of veterinary quarantine procedures and food safety measures to prevent the spread of ASF in neighboring towns.

Negros Occidental province supplies 8,000 to 12,000 heads of swine to other provinces every month.

With a P6-billion swine industry, the province is the top backyard hog producer in the country.

Negros Occidental has remained ASF-free.

Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson welcomed the opening of the new ferry trips between Pulupandan town in the province to neighboring Guimaras province.

"It's a positive tourism development for both Guimaras and Negros," Lacson said.

On Saturday, NaviMar Shipping, operator of the route, started its roll-on, roll-off trips from Pulupandan Port to Sebaste Port in Guimaras.

However, Lacson expressed concern that it may be another entry point for pork products amid the threat of ASF.

"It will also pose a challenge to our fight against ASF," the governor said.*