Lamitan tightens quarantine measures as city sees ASF spreading to more villages

Teofilo P. Garcia Jr.

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Lamitan tightens quarantine measures as city sees ASF spreading to more villages
The virus spreads to six other Lamitan City villages, bringing the total number of affected barangays to nine

BASILAN, Philippines – Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay ordered stricter measures to be put in place on Tuesday, June 4, as the city saw more African Swine Fever (ASF) infections.

Initially, several pigs in barangays Buahan, Bulingan, and Calugusan tested positive for ASF. As of Tuesday, the virus had spread to six other villages, bringing the total number of affected barangays to nine.

The six other villages where more pigs tested positive for ASF include Arco, Balobo, Boheyakan, Bohesapa, Lo-ok, and Maloong-Canal.

Furigay ordered quarantine checkpoints in the affected barangays to stop the entry and exit of live pigs, pork, and related products to contain the spread of ASF.

The setting up of quarantine checkpoints, which took effect Monday evening, June 3, was in addition to the mitigating measures laid down in Executive Order No. 2024-06 issued by Basilan Governor Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman on the same day. 

Salliman’s order imposes a temporary ban on the transport, entry, exit, and movement of all live pigs, pork, and pork-related products and by-products in Basilan, including Lamitan City.

Lamitan is a sixth-class component city of Basilan province, with 45 villages and a population of 100,150 as of the 2020 census.

“We are still investigating since there are many possible reasons and causes for the transmission of ASF to the affected barangays,” Dr. Bryan Azute, Lamitan City veterinarian, said on Tuesday.

Furigay said they discovered that the ASF spread to other villages when eight blood samples they sent to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, tested positive for the disease.

He said the blood samples were taken from swine whose owners had reported mysterious animal deaths at that time.

“We sent the blood samples on May 29, and the results released on May 31 confirmed they were positive for ASF,” Furigay said.

He said he was worried that the ASF infections would impact the local economy and meat supply since no pigs are currently being slaughtered at the Lamitan City slaughterhouse.

Backyard raisers

Furigay said all those affected by the ASF are farmers raising pigs in their backyards.

“They raise and sell pigs to send their children to school and to raise money for other purposes like weddings, fiestas, and Christmas celebrations. It’s their piggy bank for their children’s enrollment and graduation,” he said.

Azute said they have so far registered 38 backyard raisers affected by the ASF.

Among those affected were Ricardo Enricoso, 51, and his wife Jenny, 31, who own a sari-sari store in Barangay Calugusan, Lamitan City.

Ricardo said their sow and 12 of their 15 piglets had died from ASF, while three remaining piglets had already weakened.

The Enricoso couple has four children, the eldest of whom is 11 years old. They were supposed to sell the piglets to raise money for their church wedding on June 8.

Maria Ceres Entera, a 57-year-old staff member at the Calugusan barangay hall, said her three sows and all their piglets also died due to ASF.

Entera said they had been raising and selling pigs to earn extra income for their children’s education.

“Maybe we will try our luck, in the meantime, selling kakanin (glutinous rice dessert),” Entera said.

Financial aid

Furigay said the local government would extend financial assistance to those affected by the ASF spread, provided they submit their pigs for culling.

He said the amount of financial assistance would be determined by the age of the affected pigs. The maximum financial aid is P2,500 per head.
The city government of Lamitan has also identified a secluded area to bury the culled pigs. –

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