ORMOC CITY – As this city confirms its first African Swine Fever (ASF) cases, Mayor Richard I. Gomez said that they would implement a two-week pork holiday to prevent the disease from spreading.
Mayor Gomez said a total of 136 swine from Brgy. Salvacion and 145 swine from Brgy. Bantigue were culled from a 500-meter radius from “ground zero” where the disease was first logged.
“We tried to control the entry of ASF in the city but it caught up in our barangays and hit the backyard piggeries. The pork holiday is our way of controlling the spread of the infection in Ormoc,” he said.
“It was recommended by our veterinarian to hold the slaughter of pigs for consumption. We have been investigating and monitoring other barangays, and if we need to cull infected swine, then we must,” added Mayor Gomez.
Three swine have reportedly died on June 30 in their slaughterhouse prior to slaughtering, which prompted the City Veterinarian’s Office to conduct a rapid test, wherein two of them were reactive. This prompted the slaughterhouse to impose a lockdown and cease its operations for disinfection.
In addition, according to Dr. Jose Arnil Corong of the City Veterinarian’s Office, the two swine that turned positive were from Brgy. Sto Niño of this city.
Lockdown and disinfection continued at the said slaughterhouse starting July 1, with police and meat inspectors also roaming the city and going to different barangays to make sure no swine are being slaughtered.
Furthermore, hog owners and backyard raisers are also warned that in case they are caught slaughtering hogs within their backyards, they will not be penalized but that the pork produced will be confiscated and be buried at the city designated areas.
Meanwhile, the city’s Market Supervisor Ruel Cañete said that as of July 1, there is still frozen pork available and being sold but out of the144 market stalls, only 31 are active and with pork for sale.
In response to the city’s ASF problem, Mayor Gomez signed Executive Order (EO) No. 184 series of 2021, An Order Reconstituting the African Swine Fever Task Force (ASF-TF) in Ormoc City, mandating said TF to immediately implement policies and actions, and provide coordination among implementing local offices and national agencies to act on all matters relating to the ASF.
The ASF-TF is to be composed of the City Veterinarian, Liga ng mga Barangay president, City Administrator, City Director of Ormoc City Police Office (OCPO), head officer of City Agriculture Office (CAO), City Health Department (CHD), Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), City General Services Office (CGSO), City Engineer’s Office (CEO), Slaughterhouse, Market, Philippine Port Authority (PPA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Bantay Dagat.
The EO further provides a ‘Pig Euthenasia Protocol’ wherein the pig burial site within the barangay will be identified by the barangay officials in coordination with ENRO and City Health Department while the City Engineer’s Office will be in-charge in making the burial sites. By Marie Tonette Marticio, Mary Ann Reusora and Gwen Maurillo