MANILA - Nine towns in Leyte province have been affected by African swine fever, the Department of Agriculture said Monday.
DA Eastern Visayas information officer Francis Rosaroso identified these areas as Abuyog, Burauen, Dulag, Javier, La Paz, MacArthur, Palo, Pastrana, and Tanauan.
To halt the spread of ASF, he told Teleradyo the province had culled about 4,000 hogs. The disease is harmless to humans but is deadly to pigs and there is no vaccine or cure.
Rosaroso said they were coordinating with local government units to tighten border inspection against the disease.
"Ngayon, hinihikayat ang barangay officials na sila na ang magmanman sa border checkpoints," he said.
(We are encouraging barangay officials to man border checkpoints.)
The police used to keep watch against the entry of live hogs and pork products.
Rosaroso also assured that affected backyard hog raisers would be compensated for the culled pigs.
"May commitment ang ating Bureau of Animal Industry director na babayaran kaya lang it will take some time. Ang sabi, 5 to 6 months pero icu-cut short daw. Within 3 months, magkakaroon na ng inisyal na bayaran," he said.
(Our Bureau of Animal Industry director has committed they will be compensated but it will take some time. It was said it would take 5 to 6 months but it will be reportedly cut short. Within 3 months, they will receive initial payment.)
African swine fever, often blamed for low pork supplies, has forced the culling of thousands of hogs. While it causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends in death, it cannot be transmitted to humans and other animals.
Pork accounts for 60 percent of meat consumption in the Philippines, where the swine industry is valued at P260 billion, DA had said.
The price of pork was among the factors that drove inflation to a 22-month high in December, according to the state statistics bureau, and prices of pork products are unlikely to come down anytime soon.