DOWNTREND. Oton municipal Vice Mayor Jose Neil Olivares says over 1,700 hogs have been depopulated due to African swine fever (ASF) or have died of natural causes in the town as of Nov. 19. However, cases of the animal disease are already declining, he said in an interview on Monday (Nov. 21, 2022). (PNA photo by Perla G. Lena)

ILOILO CITY – Cases of African swine fever (ASF) in Oton, Iloilo are already declining, Vice Mayor Jose Neil Olivares said on Monday.

He said that of the 37 barangays, only 28 have remaining ASF cases and more or less 9,000 swine are not contaminated.

“The figure (of cases) is going down so hopefully this will continue and we can already contain the ASF in the municipality of Oton,” he said in an interview.

He added that teams from the municipal agriculture’s office have been going around for the conduct of monitoring, surveillance and series of tests.

Olivares said affected hog growers in areas with no more incidents of ASF will be given assistance either by the provincial or municipal governments.

“This coming Dec. 1 we will have our Pork Festival if only to show to the public that ASF has no ill effect on people’s health. We will show to the public na madamo pa man d ang baboy sa Oton nga indi contaminated (that we have lots of swine in Oton that are not contaminated,” he said in an interview.

During the festival, they intend to serve their guests various pork dishes, including roasted pork.

Initially, 10 hogs coming from piggeries and backyard raisers will be served but this might be increased as they intend to solicit from roasters operating in the town, Olivares said.

Oton was the first municipality in the province of Iloilo to record ASF cases and was previously placed under a state of calamity. Currently, it remains in the red or infected zone.

As of Nov. 19, over 1,700 hogs have been depopulated or have died of natural causes in the area. (PNA)