By Freddie Lazaro
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – The province of Ilocos Norte remains free from African swine fever (ASF) infection, according to Provincial Veterinary Officer Loida Valenzuela.
Valenzuela said the provincial government, through her office, remains vigilant and has been implementing all-out efforts to safeguard the hog industry in the province from economic loss.
“Half of the provinces in Northern Luzon are ASF-affected. Ilocos Norte is one of the few provinces that are still safe from ASF including Ilocos Sur, Apayao, and four other provinces,” Valenzuela remarked.
On March 2, the Bureau of Animal Industry reported that the provinces of Cagayan, Kalinga, Benguet, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, and Isabela in Northern Luzon have been hit with the highly contagious and deadly swine disease.
Since the occurrence of ASF in the country, the provincial government of Ilocos
Norte has been imposing temporary restrictions on the entry of live hogs, frozen hog semen, and pork products from ASF-hit provinces.
Moreover, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVET) has constantly been coordinating with the city or municipal meat inspectors and livestock coordinators in monitoring hog farms, slaughterhouses, wet markets, and groceries for proper meat inspection.
Valenzuela also assured the sustained supply of pork products in the province, saying: “I am happy to say that we are still ASF-free and we are patronizing our own products. Iyon ang importante. Hindi tayo nag-aangkat ng karneng baboy para sa mga Ilokano.”
“ASF is everybody’s concern. Kaya kung may suspected cases sa mga lugar ninyo, i-report kaagad para sa ganoon ay hindi tayo matamaan ng ASF. Iwasan din nating bumili o mag-alaga ng mga baboy na hindi natin alam kung saan nanggaling. At kung maaari, iwasan nating ipa-kain ang ating mga food scraps,” she reminded the hog raisers.
“Patuloy ang ating pagbantay laban sa pagpasok ng ASF sa ating probinsya. Kaya inaasahan namin ang suporta at tulong ng iba’t-ibang local government units at barangay officials para sa ating adbokasiya,” she added.