NEGROS Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer said the Sanggunian Panlalawigan will wait for official data from the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Animal Industry before declaring a state of calamity amid the spate of hog deaths reported in the province.

Ferrer said the declaration will be based on the blood samples submitted to them for testing, which, as of Sunday, May 28, there are still negative test results for ASF.

"We need to know the correct data to guide our decisions," the vice governor said.

Ferrer said the provincial government will take the necessary measures to prevent any spread of the ASF.

“As acting governor last week, we ordered the putting up of animal quarantine checkpoints at the different borders of the province,” he said.

The current spate of hog deaths is affecting our food security in Negros Occidental, Ferrer admitted.

He said the provincial government will discuss with hog raisers what assistance we can give them.

On Friday, May 26, blood samples from two pigs in a backyard piggery in Barangay Taculing, Bacolod City, tested positive for ASF.

This is the first case of ASF in the city and the province since the outbreak was first reported in the Visayas in 2019.

Regional Executive Director Jose Albert Barrogo, officer in charge of the Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas (DA-6), also confirmed the ASF cases in the city.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said as of Friday, there were no laboratory results pointing to ASF positive cases in Negros Occidental.

"Although there is no official confirmation of ASF in the province, we are treating it as if it's ASF. We will be testing, we will be containing and if it is sick we will bury. In short we will not have a mass culling of these pigs. The healthy ones will allow the owners to sell them or have lechon," Lacson said.

Dr. Placeda Lemana, provincial veterinarian, said on Friday that there were 6,379 pig deaths in Negros Occidental from various diseases.

The deaths were reported in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th districts, which comprised 5.88 percent of Negros Occidental's hog population.

In the first and sixth districts, no disease-related hog deaths were reported.*