The Department of Agriculture (DA) officially confirmed on Thursday, August 24, that African Swine Fever (ASF) has been identified as the cause of the death of approximately 300 pigs in Cocoro Island, Magsaysay, Palawan. The confirmation was based on blood samples sent by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) for analysis by the Department of Agriculture.
In response to the outbreak, the PVO has initiated several proactive measures to contain the spread of ASF to other towns in Palawan. These measures include continued blood sample collection, enhanced surveillance efforts, and strict quarantine inspections and checkpoints in various barangays.
Last week, Dr. Darius P. Mangcucang, Officer-in-Charge of the Provincial Veterinary Office, emphasized the immediate response to the suspicious death of hundreds of pigs on the island, stating, “Upon receiving reports of the suspicious deaths of pigs on Cocoro Island in Magsaysay town, we immediately mobilized a surveillance team to conduct an on-ground investigation. We also took blood samples from the deceased pigs to ascertain the underlying cause of their deaths.”
With the rapidity that the authorities have demonstrated, the PVO furnished the affected regions in Cuyo and Magsaysay with additional disinfectants and footbaths. Furthermore, a strategic checkpoint has been positioned at the boundary of these municipalities to monitor animal movement and enforce stringent biosecurity protocols.
In an effort to curb potential disease dissemination, strict quarantine measures have been enacted in Barangay Cocoro. This move restricts the entry and exit of animals from the area, a pivotal action to prevent potential infections from spreading.
Both Cuyo and Magsaysay LGUs have proactively taken action. The Municipal ASF Task Force, in accordance with Provincial Ordinance No. 2846, which outlines “Bantay ASF sa Barangay” biosecurity measures, has been instituted in both towns. This includes the prohibition of live hog and pork product transportation from external areas into Cuyo and Magsaysay, a mandate solidified by Executive Orders from both municipalities.
ASF is a highly contagious viral disease affecting pigs, with high mortality rates among infected herds. While not harmful to humans, the disease poses a significant threat to the swine industry, leading to market disruptions and economic losses. Swift action is crucial to prevent further escalation of the outbreak and safeguard the local pig farming community.
The Department of Agriculture and local authorities are closely collaborating to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to manage the outbreak effectively and minimize its impact on the region’s agriculture sector.
Dr. Mangcucang, in a recent public statement, reemphasized the necessity of stringent adherence to measures outlined by the Provincial Government, designed to arrest the potential spread of animal diseases within Palawan.
He issued a crucial advisory to affected residents, urging against the sale of slaughtered pigs on other islands. Instead, proper disposal and deep burial of deceased pigs are recommended to halt the potential propagation of the agent causing these alarming deaths.
As efforts continue, residents and stakeholders are urged to remain informed, follow guidelines issued by relevant authorities, and cooperate with measures designed to prevent the spread of the disease.