Davao City completes swine culling operations; Davao del Sur rolls out measures with new ASF cases

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A MEAT VENDOR prepares pork cuts at a market in Davao City on Thursday, February 13. The City Veterinarian’s Office said the culling of all pigs in the two villages with African Swine Fever (ASF) infection was completed on Wednesday. — BW/LEAN S. DAVAL, JR.

THE DAVAO City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO) has completed the culling of pigs in two villages with confirmed cases of the African Swine Fever (ASF), but the movement of pigs and pork products remains restricted to avoid another outbreak. “The two barangays will continue with decontamination and disinfection activities by individual hog raisers daily for 30 days… In case repopulation is considered, rearing will be allowed after 90 days provided that all infected materials were disposed properly and thorough disinfection has been properly conducted,” City Veterinarian Cerelyn B. Pinili told the media on Wednesday. “All entry and exit points will be manned by the barangay concerned to carry out disinfection of vehicles that pass through its area of responsibility,” she added. The CVO, together with the Department of Agriculture-Davao Region (DA-11), is also maintaining the surveillance of areas within the seven-kilometer radius of the two affected barangays. Under the DA-prescribed 1-7-10 quarantine procedure, hogs within a one-kilometer radius of the outbreak will be immediately culled and buried, and the area disinfected; the seven-kilometer radius will be placed under surveillance and subject to sampling and testing; and strict monitoring of entry and exit points within 10 kilometers. Ms. Pinili reiterated the local government’s appeal for cooperation among backyard hog farmers, and at the same time gave the public assurance that the meat sold in the city’s market are safe for consumption. “We continue to enjoin everyone to cooperate to contain the disease. The consuming public is assured that meat that passed through proper inspection procedures in slaughterhouses are safe to eat.”

Meanwhile, DA-11 and the Davao del Sur provincial government said quarantine measures were already rolled out even before the release of confirmatory results on suspected ASF cases in two villages in Sulop town. Sulop is host to a major trading post for livestock in Davao as well as parts of the neighboring region of SOCCSKSARGEN, which covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat, and General Santos City. DA-11, in a statement, said they are working closely with the local government units for the implementation of ASF-related contingency plans. The first ASF outbreak in Mindanao was confirmed two weeks ago in Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental.

The Iloilo City government, which already has a ban in place for products from Luzon and the Davao Region, is considering further expanding the coverage to the entire Mindanao area. City Veterinarian Tomas J. Forteza has made the recommendation in a letter to Mayor Jerry P. Treñas. “The rapid spread of ASF in Mindanao, from one town to another, is unprecedented and the possibility of ASF virus spreading to the whole island of Mindanao is imminent,” Mr. Forteza said in the letter. Maya M. Padillo and Emme Rose S. Santiagudo