500 blood samples in San Carlos negative for ASF virus
NEGROS Occidental has remained free from African swine fever (ASF).
This was reaffirmed after 500 blood samples from different owners in San Carlos City tested negative for ASF.
Dr. Jeff Reonal, Veterinary Services Division chief of the City Agriculture's Office (CAO), said the tests were conducted following the detection of ASF in neighboring Cebu province.
Reonal said they have requested the San Carlos Sangguniang Panglunsod to pass an ordinance creating an ASF Task Force that would implement the African Swine Fever (ASF) Disease Control Program and Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF).
The ordinance is crucial since it will be their basis for responding to the spread of ASF, he said.
The proposed ordinance will strengthen and institutionalize LGU engagement for ASF prevention and control; establish an effective ASF monitoring, surveillance, and reporting system; strengthen biosecurity measures at the farm level and border control; intensify awareness campaigns and other capacity-building activities; and generate and mobilize resources for effective implementation of the program.
It will also lay out the roles and functions of the ASF Task Force, chaired by the mayor; the responsibilities of BABay ASF; surveillance in local markets, ports, and with customers.
The proposal will also impose penalties and sanctions of P500 to P1,000 and/or imprisonment to a maximum of six months, including suspension or cancellation of a license to transport.
It also proposes setting aside funding for ASF-related activities and indemnification purposes for affected farmers.
A public hearing was conducted last week and attended by city officials and various stakeholders.
"We have requested the city be declared ASF-free within six months," Reonal said.
He added that a vaccine is currently under trial in Luzon.
"We want to secure San Carlos City against ASF, as only Negros Occidental and Bohol are ASF-free," he also said.
San Carlos City is strategically located as it is a gateway to Cebu through the San Carlos City port and Negros Oriental with its border with the town of Vallehermoso and Canlaon City, all in Negros Oriental.