(PNA file photo)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The province of Camiguin has imposed a temporary ban on pork meat and by-products from outside the island after the Department of Agriculture-Northern Mindanao (DA-10) confirmed cases of African swine fever (ASF).

The announcement of Governor Xavier Jesus Romualdo released late Saturday likewise asked hog raisers not to engage in swill feeding or the feeding of food scraps and adopt appropriate biosecurity measures.

"The public is likewise advised that the slaughter of pigs outside of the municipal slaughterhouses is a criminal offense punished under Republic Act 9296, otherwise known as the Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines, as amended by RA No. 10536," the announcement read.

Under the said law, selling, transporting, and offering or receiving for sale or transportation in commerce of illegally slaughtered pork are criminal offenses.

Illegally slaughtered pork will be subject to confiscation.

In an advisory signed by DA-10 Executive Director Carlene Collado, blood specimens submitted by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) were subjected to laboratory tests by the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL-10).

After receiving reports of 14 pig deaths in Pandan, Mambajao, the PVO conducted an initial disease outbreak investigation on June 22.

On June 30, eight of 18 swine blood samples sent to RADDL tested positive for ASF.

After receiving the RADDL results, the municipal government of Mambajao and the provincial government proceeded to depopulate infected premises and all backyard pig farms within 500 meters of the infected premises.

The movement and transport of pigs outside of Pandan have also been prohibited.

Romualdo urged hog raisers in the province in areas with no confirmed ASF cases so far to obtain livestock insurance from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.

"We call on the public not to panic and engage in the spreading of unverified, misleading, or false information. With ASF now in the province, the swift and immediate containment of the disease is the prime objective of the provincial and municipal governments," he said in his announcement. (With a report from Franck Dick Rosete/PNA)