Heads of swine in a backyard piggery in Barangay San Juan, Quirino, Isabela. (Photo by Villamor Visaya Jr.)

CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela -- As the African swine fever (ASF)-affected areas in this province had ballooned from nine to 11 towns, provincial veterinary officials banned the illegal practice of slaughtering pigs called "uraga", an Ilocano word for “loaning” meat to townmates in exchange for bags of rice or corn come harvest season.

Provincial veterinarian Angelo Naui said Tuesday they have been monitoring the exit and entry of swine and other processed pork meat products in Isabela towns and cities to prevent the spread of the virus as a lockdown has been imposed by the agriculture and provincial government officials.

Some 1,000 pigs have been culled since last month with at least PHP2 million initially disbursed as compensation to affected hog raisers.

Spraying of disinfectant has been done at piggeries in the ASF-hit villages, Naui said.

He said ASF virus-positive hogs have been reported in at least 22 villages in 11 towns of the province.

These are Santiago village in Reina Mercedes town; Pangal Sur in Echague; Turod and Alunan villages in Quezon; Villa Miguel, Luna and Santa Lucia villages in Quirino; Rang-ayan, Bimonton, Casili, San Jose Norte, Victoria and Centro Uno villages in Mallig; Payac in Jones; Malasin in Aurora; Bantug, San Antonio and Villa Concepcion villages in Roxas; District 2 in San Manuel; Mabini and Union in Gamu, and Villa Miemban in Cordon.

“Agricultural technicians are on alert so that we can immediately report sick pigs and do proper action,” he said.

The governor, Naui said, has issued an executive order banning all practices of illegal slaughtering including “uraga” and all the town and village officials are expected to strictly implement it in their respective areas.

He added that local executives should not allow butchering of pigs without inspection and clearance from the veterinary office and it must be done at the town abattoir or other accredited slaughterhouses.

"Slaughtered meat but not inspected by inspectors are considered contaminated so these will be confiscated," Naui said. (PNA)