Meat products sold at a local market. (File photo)

MANILA -- To prevent African swine fever (ASF) from further spreading across the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has heightened quarantine measures following an outbreak in Davao Occidental.

“Elevated quarantine measures are being worked out by the Department of Agriculture and is advising regions to elevate quarantine measures,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement after President Rodrigo Duterte presided over a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday night.

In the Cabinet meeting, DA Secretary William Dar said Davao Occidental has been placed on lockdown while the sale of live hogs and pork products from suspected ASF-infected areas have been banned.

The DA is monitoring the seven barangays in the adjacent town of Malita with reported swine fever cases -- Bito, Kidalapong, Tubalan, Felis, Mana, Talogoy, and New Argao.

It is also set to investigate allegations that some unscrupulous traders are allegedly mislabeling imported feed meal to circumvent the import ban on ASF-hit countries.

The local hog industry is losing about PHP900 million per month due to the virus, according to the DA.

The outbreak in Davao Occidental was the first case of ASF in Mindanao, several months after the outbreak in Luzon.

ASF, a fatal animal disease among hogs, was first reported in seven areas in Luzon -- Bulacan, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon City, and Rizal.

Duterte earlier directed all executive departments, bureaus, agencies among others to adopt policies and institute measures to manage, contain, and control the transmission of ASF in the country.

Government offices were also directed to provide assistance, alternative livelihood, and skills training to hog raisers affected. (PNA)