African swine fever reaches Mindanao; 1,000 pigs in Davao Occidental town test positive

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2020 04:13 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2020 05:46 PM

Agriculture Secretary William Dar confirms report

MANILA (UPDATE) - Samples drawn from around 1,000 dead pigs in Don Marcelino town, Davao Occidental tested positive for African swine fever (ASF), the first confirmed cases of the hog disease in Mindanao, a local government official confirmed Saturday.

The Department of Agriculture Region XI and Provincial Veterinarian Office carried out the sampling.

African swine fever reaches Mindanao; 1,000 pigs in Davao Occidental town test positive 1

The pigs came from barangays Lindasan, North Lamidan, South Lamidan, Calian, Mabuhay, Lawa, Nueva Villa, and Baluntayan in the town, Don Marcelino Mayor Michael Maruya said. 

Mindanao Development Authority Secretary and former Agriculture chief Manny Piñol also confirmed the development. 

The local government of Don Marcelino has ordered the activation of a Regional Animal Disease Task Force to focus on ASF cases in the province.

Transporting hogs in and out of the municipality, as well as selling pig meat will be prohibited, Maruya said as the local government imposed a temporary lockdown in the municipality. 

Authorities will also establish animal quarantine checkpoints in entry points around the municipality. 

Hours after reports of the confirmation came out, the Department of Agriculture's Regional Executive Director Ricardo Oñate Jr. said the entry of ASF in Davao Occidental was still under validation. 

"We are still validating and tinaas na po natin ang level ng quarantine measures natin (we raised the level of our quarantine measures) in coordination [with] Armed Forces of the Philippines, local government unit and provincial government ng Davao Occidental," he said. 

"And what is important on the ground, we are closely coordinating to address the situation," he said. 

On Sunday afternoon, Agriculture Sec. William Dar confirmed the earlier report by the DA Region XI.

"This report that I have received confirms the written report by the Regional Executive Director of DA Region XI more or less one thousand pigs are affected by African Swine fever, the first laboratory test within Mindanao is positive for ASF," he said in a statement.

Dar also said a confirmatory test is being done by the Bureau of Animal and Industry.

The Philippines confirmed its first case of ASF in September 2019, prompting a ban on meat products from countries where the hog disease was first reported. 

The outbreak was first confirmed in hog farms in Luzon, where thousands of pigs have been culled to contained the disease. 

In November, the agriculture department said the local outbreak was caused by smuggled pork products from China. 

-- With reports from April Rafales and Bonna Pamplona, ABS-CBN News