TACLOBAN CITY – Mayor Richard Gomez has closed the land borders of Ormoc City to live hogs and pork products from Mindanao upon the recommendation of the city veterinarian.
This was after the Department of Agriculture (DA) found out that Abuyog, Leyte, which is around 100 kilometers from Ormoc, reported its first confirmed case of African swine fever (ASF).
DA-8 has started culling hogs within a 500-meter radius of the affected farm in Abuyog, in a bid to stop the spread of the infection.
Meanwhile, 140 hogs coming from Mindanao and reportedly bound for Manila were stuck in the southern border of Ormoc after the mayor ordered the border closure. As of press time, it was not known if it will be given passage.
Reports said City Veterinarian Dr. Joseph Cortes was not confident about giving it passage, even if the truck was disinfected. He said it could spread surviving viruses while on the road through the air, and from droppings of animal feces.
Cortes said that, just like what the whole country and Ormoc are doing regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), border closures to the movement of pigs and pork products would be key to contain the spread of ASF.
He said ASF is a deadly virus that affects pigs of all ages, which is difficult to eliminate. “To take as an example,” he said, “it took Spain 20 years to rid their country of ASF.” He said that the virus can survive even if frozen, processed, or canned.
He added it can spell doom for the pork industry in Ormoc if it finds its way into the city.
Ormoc City, the vet added, can get its pork supply from Cebu, Bohol, and Negros Island, which have remained free from ASF.