ASF hits Ilocos Norte town

Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2021 - 12:00am

BAGUIO CITY , Philippines — The Ilocos Norte provincial veterinary office has intensified monitoring and surveillance of pig farms and slaughterhouses after a remote sitio in Solsona town reported its first case of African swine fever (ASF).

“Unfortunately, we have documented our index case in Solsona, which is close to Apayao and Abra, both of which have ASF outbreaks. We are still investigating if wild pigs from the mountains have triggered the entry of ASF in the area,” provincial veterinarian Loida Valenzuela said.

Around 30 hogs within the 500-meter radius of the affected area were culled to prevent the spread of the swine disease.

The Bureau of Animal Industry, provincial government and municipal government of Solsona are conducting surveillance sampling, disease investigation, disinfection, swine inventory, transport regulation measures and other technical activities.

Valenzuela said livelihood assistance would be provided to affected hog raisers aside from the P5,000 indemnity for each culled pig.

Department of Agriculture-Ilocos regional executive director Nestor Domenden said they are preparing for the repopulation of hogs in areas that have been declared ASF-free.

Domenden said repopulation would be conducted in Lingayen, Labrador and Aguilar towns in Pangasinan, where no ASF case was recorded in the past three months.

He said affected hog raisers would each receive three piglets weighing 15 kilos.

Domenden said their office distributed P120 million in indemnification fund for ASF-hit hog raisers. He said they are waiting for additional fund releases from the Department of Budget and Management.

The compensation for each culled pig not exceeding 20 heads is on top of the financial assistance extended by some local government units.

Domenden said the price of pork in Ilocos region remains stable as supply is sufficient.

In San Nicolas, a pig farm produces 1,000 heads per week, which are distributed to neighboring towns.

The price of pork ranges from P220 to P260 per kilo.

Based on data gathered from various local government units, 42 percent of the hog population in the region was hit by ASF in 2019. – Eva Visperas

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