By Freddie G. Lazaro

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – – The livestock supplies in Ilocos Norte remain sufficient even the local livestock industry is threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of the African Swine Fever (ASF), according to the provincial veterinarian.

Provincial Veterinary Officer Loida Valenzuela claimed that the supply in the livestock industry in the province has always been sufficient despite crises:

“So far, as to livestock situation in the province, nakita natin ang dami ng poultry animals natin. Chicken eggs were even more than sufficient kaya marami ang ipinapamigay na poultry products na kasama sa relief goods na ibinabahagi sa mga pamilya [that’s why a lot of poultry products were included with the relief goods given to families].”

Dr. Valenzuela also said that Ilocos Norte has been one of the suppliers of livestock and poultry products of neighboring cities and provinces:

“As a matter of fact, hindi rin bumaba ang suplay natin dahil tuloy-tuloy naman ang contract growers ng mga iba’t ibang integrators dito sa probinsiya [supply hasn’t gone down because contract growers and integrators continue to function in the provinces]. We’re actually happy to note that we are even supplying animals and products to cities and provinces like Tuguegarao City, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Baguio City. We are also planning to bring frozen goods in Metro Manila, as they have been requesting for it,” Dr. Valenzuela added.

At present, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) continues to prepare vitamins and medicines for livestock, to be distributed to local government units (LGUs), in preparation for the rainy season.

The provincial government vowed to provide animal shelters to vulnerable and flood-prone areas in the province to keep the livestock safe from possible typhoons.

“We advise LGUs down to their constituents na kapag may bagyo [that if there’s a storm], they need to keep the animals in higher grounds para hindi sila malunod o magkasakit [so they don’t drown ro get sick]. For the animal shelter, we will identify the vulnerable areas, kung saan may mga highly-populated animals sa barangay at sila ang i-priority natin [where there are highly-populated animals in the barangay and these will be prioritized],” said Valenzuela.