9 Isabela towns in lockdown as ASF worsens

CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela — Nine towns in Isabela were placed in a lockdown due to the aggravated cases of African swine fever (ASF) in the province. 

Isabela Governor Rodolfo Albano III said he ordered the lockdown upon recommendation of the provincial veterinary office to prevent further spread of the virus. 

Provincial veterinarian Angelo Naui said on Sunday that they have identified the towns of Quezon, Quirino, Mallig, Aurora, Roxas, San Manuel, Gamu, Cordon and Jones as ASF-affected. 

All the towns except Cordon and Jones are near Tabuk City in Kalinga which had previous ASF cases. Agriculturists and hog raisers believed the virus originated from the said area. 

“We have culled within the locked-down areas as we strive to avert any spread of the disease,” he added. 

Several villages in two more towns had been investigated by the veterinary office due to hog symptoms associated with ASF but the results have yet to be known. These are Pangal Sur and San Manuel in Echague town and Santiago in Reina Mercedes town. 

Veterinarians had already culled 955 heads of pigs owned by 155 hog raisers — 79 heads in Quezon; 19 in Quirino; 72 in Malli; 82 in Cordon; 109 in Aurora; 201 in Roxas; 291 in San Manuel; 73 in Gamu; and 29 in Jones town. 

On Saturday and Sunday, Isabela provincial officials met hog raisers to help them address their concerns and help them mitigate their losses, information officer Romeo Santos said. 

The provincial government has set aside PHP2,500 per head of culled pigs aside from the PHP2,500 counterpart of the local government as assistance for the affected hog owners, he added. 

However, the provincial and town governments could only pay 20 heads per hog raiser.  Villamor Visaya, Jr/PNA – northboundasia.com