By Armando Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY – The remote coastal town of Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental which was placed in a total lockdown by the provincial government and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to contain the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) is poised to declare a state of calamity.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he supports the declaration of a calamity state by the provincial government which is expected to be made today, February 4.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Manny Piñol said national government agencies, local governments, and the private sector worked together and implemented a total ban on the transport of hogs and pork from the whole province.
“The slaughter of hogs and sale of pork in the markets of Davao Occidental have 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 deployed to remote villages to ask people to turn in their hogs for culling.
He said 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 a 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, a joint Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting was held in Tagum City, Davao del Norte to discuss other measures to assist farmers whose livelihood were affected by the outbreak.