MANILA-Former Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, who ventured into pig farming after leaving the government, said on Friday he too is "officially a victim" of the virus.
This is because over 20 of Roque's 200 pigs in his farm in Tanay, Rizal died apparently due to African Swine Fever (ASF).
"I am officially a victim of the African swine flu (sic). No, I do not have it. But 20 or so of my pigs have died almost certainly because of it," he said in a commentary published on The Daily Tribune Friday.
Authorities earlier this month confirmed an outbreak of ASF in Rodriguez town, Rizal; Barangay Cupang in Antipolo; and Guiguinto town in Bulacan.
Roque suspects that the virus reached his remote farm because his overseer did not follow the Bureau of Animal Industry's advice not to venture into other pig farms while ASF persists in the country.
"What appears more plausible is that the overseer brought the virus from his Payatas piggery to Tanay. Tigas kasi ng ulo! (how stubborn)," he said.
Roque revealed that he had been interested in putting up a pig farm as early as 2016 but opted to run for Congress instead.
The plan only came to life after he withdrew his May 2019 Senate bid.
With his pigs, Roque said he aims to produce his own pork for native organic lechon Cebu under the brand "Miniongs" as well as bagnet and bacon.
"My only hope is that because I am raising only native pigs and fed with organic feeds, that majority of my pigs will survive if not, it will be a total loss amounting to more than a million pesos," he said.
While Roque said he is aware that his hog-raising dreams just like his Senate aspirations "might go awry," he, however, is confident that he will survive the loss.
"I'm sure I will survive this debacle," he said.
"I can recover precisely because hog-raising was but a hobby, albeit a bit expensive to the cost of an Innova," he said.
The Department of Agriculture has reiterated that ASF, which causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends in death, cannot be transmitted to humans and other animals.