ASF UPDATE. Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez (right), with City Veterinarian John Michael Cabuguason, reports on the African swine fever cases detected in the city, in a press conference at the City Hall on Tuesday afternoon (June 6, 2023). A total of nine cases were reported, including seven detected from pigs in the slaughterhouse of the Victorias Foods Corporation. (PNA photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

VICTORIAS CITY – This city in northern Negros Occidental province on Tuesday reported nine cases of African swine fever (ASF), including seven detected from pigs in the slaughterhouse of the Victorias Foods Corporation (VFC).

It is the second local government unit (LGU) in the province to have confirmed cases of the highly contagious viral disease -- based on the reports of the Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas (DA-6) Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL) -- after Pulupandan town which first recorded a case end of May.

In a press conference, Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez announced the development with Dr. John Michael Cabuguason, city veterinarian, who said they have monitored the ASF cases in two areas since last week.

The first incident was recorded in a backyard farm in Barangay 5, where two of the three submitted samples tested positive on June 5.

“All the animals died and were properly disposed of. Immediate culling with indemnification will be done within a 500-meter radius,” Cabuguason said.

The second incident, as shown in the DA-6 RADDL result on Tuesday, included seven samples from the VFC abattoir that tested positive for ASF.

Cabuguason said these included pigs subjected to blood sampling before they were brought in for slaughter.

He added that the hogs were part of the 15 sows that came from Hinigaran town in southern Negros on June 2.

“Immediate containment of infected pork products in the slaughterhouse of VFC was implemented. The carcasses and organs were condemned, the whole area was disinfected,” the city veterinarian said.

Benitez acknowledged the economic concern brought by the ASF threat to the city’s PHP16-million hog industry, which is entirely comprised of backyard hog raisers.

“We are going to explore options on how to minimize impact to livelihood,” he said.

The mayor said 90 percent of the 1,584 total hog population here has been insured with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation. (PNA)