• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Following detection of confirmed Asian Swine Fever cases in Guimaras, Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Placeda Lemana yesterday said that they have tightened security at all possible entry points at coastal municipalities of Negros Occidental, facing the island province.
The Department of Agriculture (DA-6) confirmed that Guimaras province recorded its first confirmed ASF cases in Buenavista, Guimaras, through convective PCR (cPCR) testing on December 16 last year.
Lemana reported that almost all commercial piggery farms in the province are located in the 4th district of Negros Occidental.
The hog industry in Negros Occidental, the top backyard swine producer in the country, is valued at P6 billion.
Hogs and pork products from Panay island and Guimaras are banned in Negros Occidental, which remains ASF-free as of this time, Lemana said.
Lemana said they are mobilizing para-veterinarians they have trained, in the different coastal barangays of 4th district, to watch their respective areas, as a roll on – roll off vessel is slated to operate and ply the Pulupandan-Guimaras route.
A joint ASF task force was also created by the provincial government of Negros Occidental and highly urbanized Bacolod City to guard the major ports and airports in the province.
With their massive information drive, through the help of media, Lemana said they have noted that travelers are now aware on the banning of entry of live pigs and pork-related products from Panay going into Negros.
She also observed that the volume of confiscated pork-related products, passing through major ports in Bacolod City, has been reducing.
“Last week, we confiscated P60,000 worth of pork products, compared to more than P200,000 in the previous weeks,” Lemana said.*