The Norala Municipal Hall in South Cotabato. (Photo courtesy of Norala LGU)

KORONADAL CITY – At least 100 hogs were culled in Norala, South Cotabato province due to African swine fever (ASF), an official said Tuesday.

Norala Mayor Clemente Fedoc, said the local government unit (LGU) and personnel from the provincial veterinary office have depopulated at least 100 hogs in ASF-infected Barangay Poblacion in Norala town since July 29.

“The ASF was first detected on a sick pig of a backyard hog raiser showing signs of the virus,” Fedoc said in an interview.

Fedoc said the depopulation of live hogs covered areas that are within the 500-meter radius of the ASF ground zero.

“Starting today (Tuesday) we will also conduct surveillance on pigs outside the 500-meter radius zone,” the mayor said.

Since the LGU is still in the process of validation, Fedoc said he is not yet certain about the number of ASF-affected hog raisers.

Being a third-class municipality,  he said Norala is not prepared and does not have enough funds for ASF-affected farmers.

“I will meet with the municipal council and our budget officer and find ways where we can source funds to assist with the affected hog raisers,” Fedoc said.

Fedoc said they are still investigating how the ASF virus was transmitted at the town’s center.

“We have established checkpoints on possible entries to prevent the entry of ASF but maybe transporters of live hogs are using alternative routes like roadway on irrigation canals,” he said.

Norala is the latest municipality in South Cotabato to have been hit by ASF, following the towns of Banga and Surallah and this city. (PNA)