Lockdown ordered, checkpoints on 24/7 alert


LINGAYEN—Gov. Amado Espino III ordered a lockdown by reactivating animal control checkpoints in all entry points of the province and the quarantine task force as preemptive moves against the possible spread of the African Swine Flu to the province.

The quarantine task force was organized during the onslaught of the avian flu in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija two years ago.

A swine cargo truck goes through a checkpoint of Quarantine Task force of the Provincial Veterinary before reaching the slaughterhouse. (Punchphoto by Willie Lomibao)

Espino told newsmen that the preemptive action is temporary and will be lifted as soon as the investigation into the deaths of swine in Rizal and Bulacan turn out not to be caused by ASF.

“This is just a precautionary move on our part to protect our own hog industry from the onslaught of ASF if it turns out that this disease is already here,” Espino said, adding that Pangasinan’s neighbors  are also doing the same.

Espino also deputized local government officials in the border towns to help implement the quarantine regulations for incoming animals from adjacent provinces.   

Within 24 hours two trucks loaded with a total of 38 swine were intercepted by the joint Office Provincial Veterinarian the police at the Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEx) exit in Barangay Bobonan, Pozorrubio.

The first truck owned by Isagani Cruz, 40, a businessman from Baguio City, was loaded with 16  heads of swine which came from the Tarlac Golden Harvest farm en route to Baguio City was flagged down at 10:30 a.m. on August 21.

The second truck, registered in the name of Elsie Jung of La Trinidad, Benguet, was loaded with 22 heads of swine which it picked up from a hog farm in Balungao bound for La Trinidad when it was intercepted at about 7:10 p.m. on August 21.

Both trucks were brought to the OPVet Quarantine station in Barangay Asan Sur, Sison for further inspection and investigation and eventually released after the owners showed documents that these are bound to Baguio City and not in Pangasinan and that these were free from any diseases.

P/ Colonel Redrico Maranan, provincial police director, said it has deployed units to guard entry points at the border in Tarlac-Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija-Pangasinan, Zambales-Pangasinan and La Union-Pangasinan specifically in Pozorrubio, Bayambang, Infanta, Mangatarem, Sison, San Fabian and Umingan to block the traveling of hogs especially from Rizal and Bulacan.

Meanwhile, the OPVet-PNP checkpoints in Carmen, Rosales; Bakit-bakit Rosales, Umingan, Bayambang, Mangatarem and Infanta while new teams were assigned to the TPLEX entry and exit points in Pozorrubio, Binalonan, and Urdaneta City as well as in San Nicolas which is linked to Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya via the newly built Pangasinan-Nueva Vizcaya road.

While Espino was assured by Dr. Tavareros, assistant provincial veterinarian, that the hogs in Pangasinan are still safe from the ASF, he still ordered Tavareros to monitor and hold dialogues with piggery raisers to ensure their cooperation.

Meanwhile, Espino was assured by OPVet that even if Pangasinan has temporary closed its borders for the entry of swine from other provinces, its supply of pork remains sufficient for its over two million population. (Leonardo Micua/Nora Dominguez/Helen Martin)     

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