The African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak has led to the declaration of a state of calamity in two towns on Sibuyan Island, Romblon. Cajidiocan declared a state of calamity on Friday, following San Fernando, where the first positive ASF case was confirmed early in October.
The latest figures from the local government units (LGU) indicate that over a thousand hogs have succumbed to the virus on the island.
Mayor Greggy Ramos of Cajidiocan confirmed the declaration of a state of calamity and revealed that his town recorded more than 300 hog fatalities due to ASF, impacting at least 80 hog raisers.
According to Ramos, the outbreak spans two barangays, with eight others being considered suspected areas. The local government has initiated the declaration of a state of calamity to mobilize resources and curb the spread of the virus. The government will commence profiling affected hog raisers to determine the assistance they need.
Ramos noted that not only hog raisers but also meat vendors in public markets are affected, adding that nearly all meat vendors are affected, which, in turn, poses challenges to food security.
“Ngayon apektado talaga ‘yung merkado, kasi halos lahat ng kumakatay ng baboy ay apektado. Nagkakaproblema rin kami sa food security kaya humihingi kami ng tulong sa poultry at fishery industry, [Now the market is really affected, because almost everyone who slaughters pork is affected. We are also having problems with food security so we are asking for help from the poultry and fishery industry],” Ramos added.
To help residents on the island, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Romblon has imposed a “price freeze” on certain essential goods in the markets of San Fernando and Cajidiocan towns for a period not exceeding 60 days.
Among the products subject to the price freeze are canned fish and other seafood products, processed milk, coffee, detergent soap, candles, bread, iodized salt, instant noodles, and bottled water.
The “price freeze” is intended to protect consumers from price manipulation and ensure the availability of these essential goods during the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak that has impacted the hog industry on the island.
Meanwhile, the first case of the ASF virus was confirmed in Tablas Island early this week, with at least 14 hogs exhibiting similar symptoms. One hog in Barangay San Isidro in Alcantara tested positive for ASF.
Romblon Provincial Administrator Atty. Lizette Mortel told PIA Romblon that Romblon Governor Jose Riano plans to place the entire province under a state of calamity in response to ASF outbreaks in three towns. The move is aimed at providing comprehensive support and resources to address the situation and protect the province’s hog industry.
In an effort to contain the spread of the virus, towns that have been declared ASF-free are implementing strict measures, including a ban on the entry of pork and its by-products from other towns, even those also classified as ASF-free. According to the July 2023 inventory data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the province of Romblon has a total swine population of approximately 57,255. Among these, a significant portion, specifically 51,920, is owned by small backyard farmers.