DA-10, LGU to compensate affected hog raisers in Iligan City

ILIGAN CITY —– The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO-10) assured on Wednesday, November 18, that hog raisers in Iligan City whose will be culled because of the African Swine Fever (ASF) will be compensated. 

Iligan City’s Lechon Industry is expected to take a hit following the discovery of African Swine Flu infected hogs in the city recently.
(Divina M. Suson)

During the latest Talakayan sa PIA press briefing, DA-RFO 10 Executive Director Carlene Collado, said the Northern Mindanao Hog Raisers (NorMinHog) will pay the affected hog farmers P2,000 while the DA will pay P5,00 per culled hog.

The city government of Iligan had also allocated P1.5 million to support the affected farmers, according to city information officer Jose Pantoja.

“The P5,000 from the DA will be released upon submission of complete documents to the DA Central Office,” Collado said.

The DA confirmed on Wednesday that the serum specimen samples taken from hogs from four sitios in Barangay Pugaan  tested positive for the ASF viral DNA.

Collado said coordination and ground activities to contain the disease are being conducted with the Regional ASF Task Force and the local government of Iligan isolating the affected area, eliminating the infected animals and compensating the affected farmers.

Some 664 hogs owned by 149 backyard swine farmers have been culled as of November 18.

City Veterinarian Dr. Dahlia Valera said the owners first reported on November 12 that hogs were observed exhibiting the ASF symptoms of apparent weakness and chills.

“As preventive measure, we immediately depopulated the hogs and buried in an area in Barangay Pugaan,” Valera said.

Amy Lastimoso, team leader of OroVet, an association of hog raisers and feed suppliers in Northern Mindanao, said they were deployed since November 13 to contain the entire Barangay Pugaan to ensure no live hogs, pork or pork products were brought inside or outside the barangay.

A veterinary quarantine checkpoint in Iligan City.
(Divina M. Suson)

“Pito ka mga entry and exit points sa Pugaan among gibantayan. Inspection sa mga sakyanan nga mosulod og mogawas. Kung dunay dalang karne, bisan balon, basta karneng baboy, ikumpiska namo. That’s the instruction given to us,” Lastimoso said. (There are seven entry and exit points in Pugaan that we establish checkpoints. We inspect all the vehicles and confiscate all the pork meats and or pork products. That was instruction given to us.)

Maricar Surban, owner of a small carenderia inside Pugaan market, said the effect of the ASF is a big blow to her since she is still recovering from the pandemic.

“Nalipay na unta ko nga makabalik nami og pamaligya human sa pandemic pero naa napud ni nga problema,” Surban said. (I was happy that we were allowed again to open but there is this problem again.)

Before the reported ASF, she was able to realize a daily income of P500 but has had none since  news of the ASF breakout came out.

Engr. Teod Gayo, a lechon dealer and owner of three food courts in two malls in Iligan City, said  two clients already cancelled their lechon (grilled pig) orders for a party.

“I have 15 orders for this month but two of them already cancelled. I communicated with the other clients but they did not cancel. Maybe they know that ASF does not affect to humans,” Gayo said.

He feared if the disease will continue to affect the community his business will be affected too.

“It is a domino effect. I have two suppliers from Barangay Pugaan. They have stopped supplying me live hogs. We have to buy more expensive ones from outside Iligan. Orders may lower and I may again have to lay off some employees,” Gayo said.

When the pandemic broke out in March, he had to permanently close his food court inside Gaisano Mall and temporarily close another inside the Robinsons mall.

Nine of his 18 employees were laid off because of the negative cash flow he said.

The Iligan City boundary is festooned with tarps warning against the transport of pork and pork products in the city.
(Divina M. Suson)

“Kung magpadyaon ning problema sa ASF, mapugos kog paundang napud aning ubang mga trabahante nako. Sila ang mas makalolooy kay naa paman koy laing negosyo nga magpadayon but I can’t hire them there kay construction man to, dili sila qualified didto,” Gayo said.

(When the ASF problem will continue, I will be forced to lay them off. They are in the difficult situation. I have no problem because I still have other business but I cannot hire them there because it is a construction business, they are not qualified to be there.)

With the compensation the government was given to the hog raisers, Gayo also wished suppliers like him would also be considered.

Collado assured that the Regional ASF Task Force, concerned LGUs, hog industry, and other stakeholders are doing their best to isolate, eliminate and compensate, as well as manage, contain, and control the viral disease.

He called for support in disseminating to the public that ASF is a deadly viral disease to hogs with no vaccine and could greatly affect the swine industry of Region 10 if not contained.

“We are appealing to the public to respect and step on the footbath at the Animal Quarantine Stations and to refrain from bringing in from ASF affected areas any pork and its by-products,” Collado further said.

He also urged online sellers of siomai, kekiam, longganisa and other pork by-products to ensure the origin of their products and secure business permits from their LGUs. Backyard raisers and all concerned are also advised to refrain from swill feeding.

Earlier, Iligan City Mayor Celso G. Regencia ordered the City Veterinarian’s Office and the Iligan City Police Office to restrict animal movement in all parts of the city, especially in Pugaan, including entry to Barangay Mandulog, Pala-o, Abuno, and Tipanoy. He also ordered stricter surveillance and monitoring of the transport of live pigs as well as pork products entering the city.