Piñol confident gov't can contain ASF after lockdown

The government’s effort to contain the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) which was reported to have originated in the remote coastal town of Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental is expected to succeed as a total lockdown was declared by the provincial government and the Department of Agriculture on Sunday.

This was claimed by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Manny Piñol in a Facebook post. 

In the social media post which he regularly writes, Piñol said national government agencies, local governments and the private sector jointly jumped into action and implemented a total ban on the transport of hogs and pork from the whole province. There was an initial confusion until the government stepped in.

“The slaughter of hogs and sale of pork in the markets of Davao Occidental has been banned by the provincial government,” he said.
He said the private sector joined the efforts with the Mindanao Hog Raisers Association and PILMICO Feeds Corp., an Aboitiz Company, sending disinfectants, backpack sprayers and power sprayers.

“Neighboring provinces have likewise established Quarantine Facilities which required all travellers to step on a footbath while vehicles were sprayed with disinfectant,” he said.

Piñol said Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista has dispatched backhoes to Don Marcelino to prepare disposal facilities for the infected hogs while baarangay tanods were deputised to penetrate remote villages and ask people to turn in their hogs for culling.

He said Agriculture Secretary William Dar flew in from Manila on Sunday and proceeded to the capital town of Malita to personally assess the situation.

“Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan arrived in Don Marcelino yesterday afternoon to consult with hog farmers and local officials,” Piñol said adding that the Don Marcelino ASF outbreak is a puzzling incident to government agencies monitoring the disease in Mindanao.

Piñol said reports received during the briefing in Don Marcelino said the first incident happened in a remote mountain village late last year.
He added that the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) of the DA is now investigating how and why the virus which thrives in pork products, even those already processed, reached the remote village.

Piñol said the isolation of the town located along the southern coast of the Davao Gulf with only one entry and exit road is a factor that will greatly help the containment of the disease.

“The only other way out of Don Marcelino is through the sea but the Coast Guard has been alerted on the implementation of the total ban on the transport of hogs and pork products from the town,” he said.

On Monday (February 3) , a joint Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting was conducted  in Tagum City, Davao del Norte and discussed other measures to assist farmers whose livelihood activities were affected by the outbreak.

Piñol said the Don Marcelino ASF outbreak is the first to be reported in Mindanao.