Local authorities confirmed Saturday that the African swine fever (ASF) is now in Mindanao after samples drawn from 1,000 dead pigs in Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental tested positive from the dreaded hog disease.

Office of Civil Defense Director Liza Mazo activated the Regional Animal Disease Task Force thru a memorandum issued Friday, January 31, after confirming the presence of ASF in Don Marcelino town.

Don Marcelino Mayor Michael Maruya said on his Facebook account Friday that the pigs came from barangays Baluntayan, Calian, Lawa, Mabuhay, North Lamidan, South Lamidan, Lindasan and Nueva Villa.  The Department of Agriculture Region IX and Provincial Veterinarian Office collected the samples from the dead pigs.

The Don Marcelino LGU has ordered the activation of a Regional Animal Disease Task Force to address the ASF cases in the province.

Maruya said they have enforced a temporary lockdown barring the transport of live hogs as well as selling or pork products in and out of the municipality.

Animal quarantine checkpoints in entry points around the municipality will also be put up.

Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista also issued a circular to temporarily ban the entry and exit of wild or domesticated pigs to the province.

The first case of ASF in the Philippines was confirmed in September 2019 in hog farms in Luzon.  Thousands of pigs have been culled to contain the disease. The government also issed a ban on hog products from countries where the hog disease was first reported.

In November, the agriculture department confirmed that the outbreak was caused by smuggled pork products from China.  (Rommel F. Lopez)