KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 17 August) – At least 324 hogs were culled and buried in a public cemetery here on Sunday after showing symptoms of African swine fever (ASF) infection, a village official said.
Rodolfo Rodriguez, chairman of Barangay Linangkob, said one of the village councilors owned some of the culled hogs, which allegedly was the source of the contamination.
The first case was recorded in Purok Mangosteen and then spread to two adjacent puroks in Barangay Linangkob, Rodriguez said.
He believed the virus could have been carried by waters coming off from Marbol River in Magpet town, considered the ground zero of ASF in North Cotabato.
“Most of our backyard hog raisers get their water in cleaning their hog farms from a river stream connected to the Marbol River,” Rodriquez said.
But the city’s largest hog farm located in Purok Mangosteen, which is owned by lawyer Dina Espina-Chua, a former North Cotabato board member, was spared from culling last Sunday, Dr. Eugene Gornez, city veterinarian, said.
Gornez explained that the Espina Hog Farm had since imposed strict bio-security measures to prevent their hogs from getting infected with the deadly ASF virus and other diseases affecting animals.
However, Gornez admitted they have yet to get blood samples from the Espina Hog Farm for testing at the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) laboratory in General Santos City.
“If the samples turn out to be negative, then the live hogs owned by Atty. Dina Espina-Chua would be spared from culling or depopulation,” Gornez said.
Rodriguez said the deadly pig virus from Magpet town could also have entered Barangay Linangkob through individuals who brought pigs or pork meat without passing quarantine checkpoints.
The culled pigs were buried at a public cemetery in Barangay Binoligan here.
The ground zero of ASF in North Cotabato was recorded three weeks ago in Barangay Ilian in Magpet. About 1,000 hogs were culled in M’lang after the virus spread to 10 other towns.
Dr. Rufino Suropia, North Cotabato veterinarian, said the DA-12 promised to compensate hog raisers in Magpet and Kidapawan City with P5,000 for each culled pig.
The first ASF outbreak in Mindanao was recorded in Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental last February.