PASSPORT ON WHEELS. Applicants troop to the Sta. Barbara Municipal Gymnasium in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo province for the Passport on Wheels (POW) that kicked off the town’s Kahilwayan Festival on Nov. 3-5, 2022. Sta. Barbara tourism officer Irene Magallon on Friday, (Nov. 11) said after the Kahilwayan Festival, they will be hosting the launching of the Lechon Festival of the provincial government eyed to help hog growers. (Photo courtesy of Jorry Palada)

ILOILO CITY – The Iloilo provincial government will launch its Lechon Festival in the municipality of Sta. Barbara on Nov. 20 to encourage hog growers in areas adjacent to places with confirmed African swine fever (ASF) cases to earn rather than take the risk of infection.

Sta. Barbara tourism officer Irene Magallon, in an interview on Friday, said the event was an idea of Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and was relayed to them by Provincial Tourism Officer Gilbert Marin.

“There might be a lot who would give up their hogs, so it might as well be a festival,” she said.

Aside from lechon (roast pig), other pork menus will be available for sale.

Joining the festival is voluntary since they could not be obliged to give up their hogs considering that they have various reasons why they raise the farm animal, Magallon added.

Currently, they are working with the local agriculture office which will determine if the hogs are safe to be culled.

“We are still coming up with the mechanics; we are still in the preparation stage. We have to meet up with barangays captains since they will be the one to decide on what they want to happen in their barangays,” she added.

Sta. Barbara will be the first town to launch the project to test the reactions of other farmers.

There will also be similar events that will be conducted in selected towns that are adjacent to ASF-affected areas.

She added that their municipality was able to contain the case of ASF that was monitored in one of their barangays.

Other towns with recorded cases were Oton, San Miguel, Alimodian, and Leganes.

The launching will be done three days after the Nov. 17 culmination of the town’s Kahilwayan Festival that started by hosting the mobile passport processing under the Passport on Wheels (POW) of the Department of Foreign Affairs Consular Affairs Division conducted on Nov. 3-5 that served 1,520 Ilonggos.

“We only started this but who knows in the future there might be interested LGUs who also would want to host the Passport on Wheels,” she said, adding that they are doing something different from the usual festival activities they conduct also to have a community service. (PNA)