ROASTED PIG. Roasted pig is available at Lechon Avenue in the municipality of Tigbauan in Iloilo province starting on Wednesday (Nov. 16, 2022). The initiative aims to speed up the depopulation of swine amid the threat of African swine fever as well as popularize the town's lechon. (Photo courtesy of Cultural Affairs and Tourism Office LGU Tigbauan)

ILOILO CITY – The local government unit (LGU) of Tigbauan in Iloilo has designated a “Lechon Avenue” to speed up the depopulation of swine amid the threat of the African swine fever (ASF) recorded in the province's five towns.

“Lechon Avenue is actually an LGU initiative to somehow mitigate the impact of the ASF,” said Tigbauan Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Phoebe M. Torrico, in an interview on Wednesday.

She said that at the earliest possible time, they would like hog growers to release their stocks and earn income by selling lechon (roasted pig) rather than face the threat of the ASF.

Currently, there are 1,000 hog growers in the municipality as per the inventory of the municipal veterinarian.

Tigbauan has no ASF cases but is located in the pink or buffer zone, just adjacent to the town of Oton, where the first confirmed cases of the animal disease were recorded.

Torrico added the event would also popularize their town's version of the roasted pig.

“We wanted to promote and popularize our pork roasters in Tigbauan; that we have remarkable roasters in Tigbauan,” she said.

The Lechon Avenue that will be available every Wednesday and Sunday opened on Nov. 16 and will culminate on Dec. 15 with the staging of the Pork Festival.

The LGU has set up three tents at the avenue located at the public plaza.

Initially, one pork roaster displayed its lechon but more participants have signified their interest to participate.

“The Lechon Avenue is open to all those who are interested to sell their lechon provided they have coordinated with our office so they will be assisted to ensure the orderly conduct of the activity,” the tourism officer said.

The price of lechon ranges from PHP500 to PHP600 a kilo.

During the culmination on Dec. 15, there will be a contest for the best lechon.

The tourism office will also offer training on the preparation of various pork menus for the Pork Festival.

Currently, confirmed cases of the animal disease were recorded in the towns of Oton, San Miguel, Alimodian, Leganes, and Sta. Barbara. (PNA)