Palawan has remained free from African swine fever (ASF), even as the Department of Agriculture (DA) describes the outbreak as “a national concern.”

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), 54 provinces and 460 municipalities are now affected by ASF.

DA assistant secretary Rex Estoperez said they are constantly updating the president on the extent of the ASF outbreak in the country.

Aside from Palawan, Batanes, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Masbate, Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Biliran, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi remain free from ASF.

NCR is the only region that has recorded zero cases of ASF.

Estoperez urged local government units to harmonize measures to prevent the spread of ASF, including depopulating within a 500-meter radius of affected areas, based on World Organization for Animal Health protocols.

Earlier, the provincial government of Cebu expressed defiance of the preventive measures issued by the BAI. Governor Gwen Garcia even consumed lechon Cebu in front of the media to prove that swine products of Cebu are safe despite ASF cases in 12 towns, including Carcar, which is known for pork products like lechon and chicharon.