Batangas confirms first case of African swine fever

BATANGAS, Philippines – The Batangas provincial government confirmed Friday, February 28, that blood samples taken from hog livestock from the town of Laurel and tested by the Bureau of Animal Industry turned up positive of the African swine fever virus.

ASF focal person Dr. Krisel Ann Ragas said there were around 500 backyard hog raisers affected in Barangay Molinete, with an estimated 5,000 pigs within a 1-kilometer radius set for culling. Over 900 have been culled as of Friday afternoon.

“Batangas is one of the top hog-producing provinces in the country. It is a P250-Billion industry in the country and the estimate is Batangas contributes P5 Billion but that is a very conservative estimate because a lot of backyard raisers may not be accounted for,” Ragas said.

According to the 2018 Swine Situation Report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Batangas was the second largest hog producer in the country with an output of over 174,000 metric tons. At the top was Bulacan which produced over 259,000 metric tons that year.

“Rest assured that the provincial government is working together with its municipal counterpart and the regional field office of the Department of Agriculture for the containment of ASF,” Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said through Advisory No. 2020-02.

The province was implementing the disease control measures:

Mandanas ordered cities and municipalities to activate their ASF task force and to strengthen their border control and biosecurity measures to prevent of entry of the disease into their territorial jurisdiction.

“We are asking for everyone’s support in this challenge. Please report to the proper authorities if you know any information regarding abnormal swine deaths, illegal entry and selling of live hogs, pork and pork products and swill feeding. Despite having the presence of ASF in our beloved province, together, we will survive and succeed,” he said.

In October 2019, Batangas implemented a total ban on the entry of live hogs, pork and formulated swine feeds from outside the province and subjected all hog transport carriers to inspection for clearance by the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian before being allowed entry.  –