(PN File photo)

The Provincial Veterinary Office (ProVet) said Palawan remains free from African swine fever (ASF) after blood samples collected from hogs in different towns tested negative for the disease.

The tests were done as one of the preventive measures to make sure that the province remains ASF-free after it was detected in the province of Marinduque.

Dr. Darius Mangcucang of ProVet said Tuesday that around 300 blood samples randomly collected from farms in different municipalities tested negative after the results were released in the last quarter of 2021.

The samples were sent to the regional Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in the month of November.

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“Good news ‘yon, negative tayo sa lahat. Pati sa FMD, avian influenza puro negative ‘yon. Nagpa-check din kami sa large animals sa kalabaw, pina-test namin kung meron silang tuberculosis—negative lahat. Ibig sabihin healthy lahat ng hayop natin,” Mancucang said.

The province of Palawan has been ASF-free since the outbreak started in 2019, and if it enters the province, it will affect the multimillion-peso hog industry.

The ProVet will schedule another random blood sample collection for testing to check for the presence of ASF and other diseases that might affect the livestock industry of Palawan.

“Sumulat kami sa legal office for exemption kasi hindi natin pwede sabihin na sakit ‘wag ka muna manghawa, hindi pwedeng ganon. Iba ang cases sa amin kasi, kung masama tayo sa election ban, hindi tayo payagan, papaano ang bakuna natin pag mag-expire? Kaya mas maganda, ma-exempt ang activities namin sa election ban,” he said.

Mangcucang previously stated that the major danger to ASF entry is the unauthorized imports of pork-based goods. The ProVet usually confiscates pork-based products such as siomai, hotdogs, longganisa, and tocino in the towns of Coron and San Vicente.

“On process na ‘yong ating provincial ordinance, nagbigay na rin kami ng aming recommendation at suggestion. Hinihintay na lang natin kung kailan lalabas. May sanctions at may pagmumulta at confiscation kung sakali man walang papel ‘yong kanilang pinapasok dito,” he said.

In the month of December, around 400 hog raisers in Marinduque were affected by ASF.

“Iyan ay pinapaniwalaan na nakuha nila (Marinduque) sa mga nag-i-illegal na nagdadala ng live hogs at mga processed. Based ‘yon sa kanilang investigation. Meron kasing mga tao na pasaway, hindi nila idadala sa port of entry, dadalhin nila sa mga lugar na walang bantay,” he said.

Mangcucang said that the prevention of the illegal entry of pork-based products into Palawan will save the local hog industry from ASF and give importance to local farmers. Maintaining an ASF-free status will help farmers sell their live pigs in markets outside the province.

“Panawagan namin sa mga nagbi-business ng processed food, sana ay huwag muna natin ipilit na magpasok ng pork-based products dito sa Palawan. Pwede naman na ibang produkto, beef, chicken ‘wag lang talaga baboy kasi mamaya ‘yong mga bini-business nyong baboy ay galing sa Bulacan, Pangasinan o kung saan man part ng Luzon na infected ng African Swine Fever,” he added.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.