- GILBERT BAYORAN
The local government units of Bago City and San Enrique in Negros Occidental are extending cash assistance to hog raisers affected by swine diseases, as the Department of Agriculture races against time to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Mayor Jilson Tubillara yesterday said that the municipal government will extend P3,000 to P5,000 in financial assistance to each hog raiser in San Enrique, where 2,253 of its 2,692 hog population, equivalent to 83.69 percent, died of hog cholera and other diseases, based on the report of the Provincial Veterinary Office.
Tubillara, however, maintained that San Enrique remains ASF-free, as 27 of the blood samples taken from hogs in the town, yielded negative for the African swine fever virus.
The giving of cash aid to affected hog raisers, especially those raising swine in their backyards, numbering to 600, was decided during a meeting with members of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council that was attended by Vice Mayor Carlo Raymund Magno and two councilors, pending clarification of the state of calamity declaration by the sanggunian, without any MDRRMC endorsement, the mayor said.
Mayor Nicholas Yulo, meanwhile, said the city government of Bago will also extend financial assistance to hog raisers, ranging from P1,000 to P2,000 per dead pig.
A total of 1,178 hogs died in Bago City, which is 5.58 percent of its 20,836 swine population, PVO records further showed.
Yulo also warned those who were throwing dead hogs into creeks and rivers that they will be penalized once caught.
The provincial government of Negros Occidental is also amending its Anti-ASF Ordinance, to increase the penalties to be imposed on those caught transporting live pigs and pork-related products from ASF-hit areas into the province, Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer said.
Acting Bacolod City Mayor El Cid Familiaran, in an interview over Bombo Radyo, yesterday disclosed that the agriculture department’s Bureau of Animal Industry confirmed that the piglet that died in Brgy. Tangub, Bacolod, was infected with the ASF virus.
The first two ASF cases were detected last week in Brgy. Taculing, Bacolod, followed by the discovery of another ASF infection in Brgy. Mabini, Pulupandan, Negros Occidental.
With this development, the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod is requesting the City Veterinary Office to conduct intensified testing and monitoring of live hogs within the jurisdiction of Bacolod to curtail the spread of ASF.
As of May 30, Negros Occidental has logged 7,229 swine mortalities, with damage to the hog industry in the province pegged at P93,180,675, excluding Bacolod, PVO reports said./GB