Pangasinan still remains ASF-free


THE Office of the Provincial Veterinary (OpVet) allayed the fears of stakeholders in the swine industry and assured the public that the province remains free of African Swine Fever (ASF) despite the confirmation that 15 pigs that were smuggled into Mapandan town from Bulacan were infected with ASF. 
Dr. Jovito Tabajeros, assistant provincial veterinarian, said swine producers have nothing to panic about and because the 15 pigs than turned positive of ASF were not originally from Pangasinan. 
OPVet effectively contained the possible spread of the disease to other pigs by having all the pigs smuggled in from Bulacan subjected to the culling process.  The number includes 103 hogs, all located within the one-kilometer radius of the ground zero in Barangay Baloling, within the 1-7-10 kilometer protocol in Barangay Baloling. 
Communities within the seven-kilometer radius from ground zero and need to be put under close surveillance are the 116 barangays in Mapandan, Sta. Barbara, San Fabian, Manaoag, Laoac, Urdandeta City and Mangaldan.
Meanwhile, the Mangaldan Livestock Market was reportedly closed but operations of the town’s slaughterhouse continues.
Governor Amado Espino III who called an emergency meeting after he received confirmation from DA Region-1 Executive Director Lucrecio Alviar that 15 blood samples submitted were infected with ASF, strongly urged the mayors, barangay captains and residents to be more vigilant in guarding all entry points to their communities particularly along barangay roads

Two swine traders, Roger Erpelo and Jaime Garcia, both residents of Brgy. Baloling in Mapandan, evaded 11 checkpoints by passing through Anao Exit to San Manuel, Tarlac to Bersamin, Alcala, then going right to Carmen Bridge to Villasis, to Urdaneta then to Urdaneta Bypass Road, then sitio Guam to Mapandan.   

More checkpoints have been established in Mapandan and Mayor Anthony Penuliar fully  supported the provincial government’s tighter control over his town.

“Dahil sa interest ng isang tao, maapektuhan ang hanapbuhay ng lahat ng hog traders at mga backyard piggery sa buong barangay,” the governor lamented.

Bureau of Animal Industry Regional Veterinary Quarantine Officer Jhonabeth Pajarillaga explained the protocol  requires that within the one-kilometer radius of the site of infection or ground zero, bringing in and out of any swine or hogs in the area is banned and eventually be depopulated. Within the 7-kilometer radius, swine will be under surveillance with restricted movements of swine while blood testing will be undertaken. Within the 10-kilometer radius from ground zero, a mandatory monitoring and reporting of swine disease occurrences is implemented.

Meanwhile, Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine Baniqued said the provincial government will file a case against Erpelo and Garcia for harming the swine industry in Pangasinan, specifically for violating the executive order of the governor and illegally sourcing hogs from Bulacan publicly known to have been infected by the dreaded swine disease.

She bared that some hog raisers have signified their intention to also file a case. 

The only negative impact of the smuggling and discovery of the infection to this was the decision of governments of Ilocos Sur, La Union and Baguio to ban entry of swine from Pangasinan.
P/ Colonel Redrico Maranan, police provincial director, expressed disgust over the greed of two swine dealers who smuggled pigs out of Bulacan areas affected by ASF instead of complying with the imposed restrictions of the provincial government, OPVet and Pangasinan PNP to safeguard the swine industry.
He urged multiplier sources to continue to help in the effort to protect local swine industry and report of unscrupulous businessmen attempting to smuggle in hogs from outside the province. (Leonardo Micua/Nora Dominguez/Helen Martin/PIO/PIA

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