SULOP, Davao del Sur (MindaNews / 6 February) – The major bagsakan or trading center of livestock here that supplies native pigs for roasting in the cities of Davao and General Santos will shut down operations starting Friday due to the African Swine Fever (ASF), industry players said Thursday.
Bobby Guitguit, owner of G-Bob’s Native Lechon Hauz and Livestock Dealer, said Mayor Jose Jimmy Sagarino gathered Thursday morning some 60 livestock dealers at the Sulop Auction Center at the junction going to Davao Occidental to personally inform them of the decision of the local government to temporarily shut down the facility.
“We were shocked by the decision of the local government but we can do nothing about it,” Guitguit, whose lechon house is based in Digos City, said in Cebuano.
The bagsakan center will be closed for 30 days or until further notice by the local government, the livestock trader said.
The mayor’s decision to shut down the trading center is in support to efforts to contain the spread of ASF in other parts of Mindanao, he added.
The ASF outbreak erupted in Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental in the second week of January, with Governor Claude Bautista admitting the disease also affected the towns of Malita, Sta. Maria and Jose Abad Santos.
ASF killed close to 3,000 pigs in Don Marcelino as of Tuesday morning, records from the municipal agriculture’s office showed. The live pig inventory at the time stood at 7,436, it added.
The local government unit started the culling of pigs in the town on Wednesday and buried in pits designated in each of the town’s 15 villages.
The ASF has already spread to Davao City, according to Ricardo Oñate Jr., Department of Agriculture-XI director on Thursday.
Guitguit said 50 percent of the native pigs traded in the bagsakan center come from Davao Occidental’s backyard growers, and the rest from the provinces of Davao del Sur and Sarangani.
Bulk buyers supply these pigs to the cities of Davao in Region 11 and General Santos in Region 12, he added.
Guitguit said an estimated 1,000 “bukag-bukag” traders have been affected by the ASF outbreak.
Bukag-bukag refers to small traders who use motorcycles with baskets on both sides for transporting the pigs.
Since the ASF outbreak erupted in the second week of January in Davao Occidental, Guitguit said trading activity at the bagsakan went down by 90 percent.
During the Christmas season, he said that 800 to 1,000 pigs are auctioned daily by the bukag-bukag traders to bulk or individual buyers, he added.
MindaNews counted only two pigs at the trading center at around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Dondon Mondejar, a local government worker at the bagsakan, said they would be pulled out later in the afternoon by their owners.
The facility will be disinfected Friday and padlocked,” he said.
Goats and cows are also being traded at the 16-year-old bagsakan center. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)