LECHON FESTIVAL. The entry of Rading's Lechon wins as the 'tastiest' roasted pig in the Asao Lechon Festival Monday (Oct. 10, 2022), as part of the activities in the ongoing Zamboanga Hermosa Festival. The event seeks to promote the local hog industry amid the spread of African Swine Fever in Zamboanga City. (PNA photo by Teofilo P. Garcia, Jr.)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Office of the City Veterinarian (OCVet) hosted Monday the “Asao Lechon Festival” to promote that the products of the local hog industry are safe for consumption amid the spread of African swine fever (ASF).

The festival, done in partnership with the Lechoneros de Zamboanga, is part of the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2022.

“This is to prove that our hogs are safe for consumption,” Dr. Mario Arriola, city veterinarian, said in an interview.

The Department of Agriculture has placed Zamboanga City in a red zone due to the increasing cases of ASF in this city.

Data from the OCVet showed that hog mortalities due to ASF has reached 4,146 with 1,013 hog raisers affected ever since ASF infection hit this city in May this year.

A total of 34 barangays spread out in the seven veterinary districts in this city have been affected by ASF.

Reynald Bucoy, owner of Kuya’s Lechon de Cebu, said the ASF cases has affected the supply of hogs.

OCVet should ease the border restriction so that hog raisers from places not affected by ASF can supply them live pigs, Bucoy said.

“Our supply is limited since it come from barangays in this city that are unaffected by ASF,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Rading’s Lechon was chosen as the tastiest roasted pig and the crispiest is the Gozo’s Lechon. Each received PHP10,000 cash prize and a certificate.

The Prince Tasty Lechon won as the best float and won as the people’s choice roasted pig and received the prize of PHP10,000 in each special award or for a total of PHP20,000.

Each of the non-winners received PHP5,000 consolation prize.

The roasted pig of the participating lechoneros were given for free to spectators after the winners have been chosen. (PNA)