PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has issued the order for the implementation of the national zoning plan to contain the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

In Administrative order No. 22 dated February 5 and released the next day, Mr. Duterte directs all national government agencies and local government units to comply with the National Zoning and Movement Plan for ASF issued earlier by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“There is an urgent need to ensure consistent implementation and compliance with DA Administrative Circular No. 12 to more effectively control the ASF virus towards its complete eradication,” he said.

The zoning plan divides the country into two general zones: the free zone and the containment zone. The four categories under containment zone are the protected zone, the buffer zone, the surveillance zone, and the infected zone.

The DA, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Interior and Local Government “are directed to monitor compliance.”

The President’s order was signed the same day that ASF cases were confirmed and announced in Davao City, his hometown.

Two barangays in the city’s Calinan District are now on lockdown as authorities take measures to prevent the spread of the disease that is highly contagious and fatal to swines.

The lockdown prohibits live pigs, processed pork and other pork by-products from entering or leaving the villages of Dominga and Lamanan, located outside the city center, according to DA-Davao Regional Director Ricardo M. Oñate, Jr.

Mr. Oñate appealed to backyard hog farmers to avoid swill feeding, or giving food scraps, which is suspected to be the source of the contamination.

Nagba-back trace po tayo kung saan nagsimula ang problema na ito (We are back-tracing now to determine where the problem started),” Mr. Oñate said in a media briefing late Thursday.

City Veterinarian Cerelyn B. Pinili said 16 pigs have died in the area since the second week of January when the livestock inspector first attended to reported sick hogs.

Some of the treated animals recovered, but several blood samples submitted to the Bureau of Animal Industry tested positive for ASF.

Mr. Oñate said the “1-7-10 protocol” prescribed by the DA is already being implemented.

Under the 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.

The police have been tapped to assist in the checkpoints.

The hog population in the two villages is about 2,000, based on the city’s livestock record.

Davao City is the second local government unit in the Davao Region, and the rest of Mindanao, with confirmed ASF cases.

The first case was reported last week in the town of Don Marcelino in Davao Occidental province.

The entire province was immediately placed on lockdown and a state of calamity was declared earlier this week.

An ASF outbreak in the country was first confirmed in September last year, affecting parts of the northern island of Luzon. Much of the contamination has been contained, except in some towns in Pangasinan where cases continued to be reported in the past weeks. — Gillian M. Cortez, Maya M. Padillo and Carmelito Q. Francisco