PREVENTION. The Department of Agriculture through the ASF and other animal diseases task force urges the support of hog raisers in keeping Antique free from the animal disease in a forum in the municipality of Sibalom on June 2, 2023. A 14-day quarantine is now in effect in nearby Hamtic town effective Monday (June 5, 2023) due to a suspected case of ASF. (PNA photo by AJPetinglay)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – A 14-day mandatory quarantine for swine was implemented in the municipality of Hamtic  effective Monday following a report on the suspected case of African swine fever (ASF).
The isolation mandated under Executive Order number 32 was issued by Mayor Julius Ronald Pacificador on June 2 after the reported unusual swine deaths in nine barangays of the municipality on May 26, 2023.
The EO stated that in two weeks, several swine, particularly breeders, fattener, and piglets, have died in Barangays Lanag, Calala, Dangcalan, Funda, Puao, Guintas, Cardidad, Poblacion 2, Poblacion and Poblacion 3.
Antique Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Florencio Macuja, in a press conference on Monday, said they are still determining the number of affected hogs.
“We will have to submit blood samples or specimens to the Bureau of Animal Industry after 14 days of the quarantine," he said, adding that the period will allow them time to observe if there are additional deaths.
Macuja said that based on their initial information, pork meat sold by one hog raiser from Barangay Lanag to neighboring villages was the cause of swine deaths.
The slaughtered hog allegedly suffered from congested lungs but bore no redness or darkening of the skin, a common sign of ASF.
The ProVet also did not discount the possibility of other diseases such as leptospirosis or pneumonia due to the heavy rainfall that was experienced in the province in the past days.
In addition to the prohibition on the transfer and transport, the slaughtering and sale of pork in the municipality are also prohibited while the quarantine is in effect.
A ban on the inter-barangay transport of swine is also not allowed "to minimize the risk of a possible outbreak of the diseases."
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Edgar Denosta, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture at the Provincial Board, has urged for the strict implementation of checkpoints not only in provincial borders but even in the neighboring towns of Hamtic such as Sibalom, San Jose de Buenavista, Tobias Fornier and Anini-y in support to the EO.
“We will also send out copies of the Provincial Ordinance to the Mayors and Municipal Agriculture Officers,” he said referring to Provincial Ordinance 2023-365.
The ordinance has adopted the Department of Agriculture’s “Bantay ASF sa Barangay” or Babay ASF Program,  a community approach to prevent, control, and manage ASF with the cooperation of the local government units.

The Department of Agriculture through its ASF and Other Animal Diseases Task Force conducted a forum in the municipality of Sibalom and urged hog raisers to help in border checkpoints to keep Antique free from the animal disease on June 2. (PNA)