Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson urged Negrenses to stay vigilant in the campaign against African swine fever (ASF).
At rites held at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City, Monday, July 26, the governor led the second anniversary of the establishment of the Provincial ASF Task Force, which he chairs.
The provincial government also honored individuals and groups that helped the province’s campaign against the dreaded disease.
The governor said that Negros Occidental is one of the few provinces that remains ASF-free, adding that it has spread to several regions – 46 provinces, and 493 cities and municipalities – with new cases reported despite government interventions to stop the spread.
“Our prompt and timely action in enacting the ASF Prevention Ordinance and the creation of the ASF Task Force to take the lead in the implementation and enforcement of our ASF prevention and control measures, contributed substantially to our success,” he stressed.
He also commended the Provincial Veterinary Office for the effective provision of support on the enforcement and implementation of the provincial ordinance, and the well-ordered coordination with the LGUs, government regulatory agencies, and the industry stakeholders.
He, however, stressed that Negrenses need to be alert on the entry of illegal pork products in the province.
“We have to be vigilant, because we cannot be complacent because just one mistake, and the entry of ASF is really hard to control. That’s why the task force is committed to keep our grounds safe, by making sure that no meat products or pork products would enter the province from areas considered as red zones,” Lacson said in an interview with reporters.
Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena, who is the co-chair of the ASF Task Force, said he is hoping that the province can still sustain its efforts in this campaign, as he stressed there is still a threat at from adjacent provinces.
“This is the first in the history of the swine industry that three provinces in the Visayas are sources of pork. These are Negros Occidental, Cebu, and Iloilo,” Decena said.
He added that Negros Occidental is the top swine producer in Western Visayas, and the fourth in the whole Philippines.
Meanwhile, individuals, local government units, government and private agencies, and other partners who mave significant contributions that enabled the province to remain ASF-free, were acknowledged and given awards during the program.
Also present in the activity were mayors Salvador Escalante, Jr. of Cadiz City and Ella Celestina Yulo of Moises Padilla, and officers of the Alliance of Hog Raisers Association of Negros Occidental and Negros Occidental Hog Raisers Association.*