By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – At least 324 hogs were culled after the animals showed symptoms of African Swine Fever (ASF) infection on August 16, a village official said.
Rodolfo Rodriguez, chairman of Barangay Linangkob, said among those culled hogs were owned by one of their village councilors, whom they suspected the ASF had come from.
The first case was recorded in Purok Mangosteen in Barangay Linangkob and spread to two adjacent puroks, according to the barangay official.
He hinted the virus could have been carried by waters coming from Marbol River in Magpet town — considered the ”ground zero” of ASF in North Cotabato.
“Most of our backyard hog raisers get their water in cleaning their backyard hog farms from a river stream connected to Marbol River,” said Rodriquez.
They also found out that the deadly pig virus from Magpet town could have sneaked to Linangkob through other routes or without passing the quarantine checkpoints.
The culled pigs were buried at a public cemetery in Barangay Binoligan, this city.
Meantime, a large hog farm located in Purok Mangosteen, owned by Atty. Dina Espina-Chua — a former provincial board member in North Cotabato, was spared from culling last Sunday, according to City Veterinarian Dr. Eugene Gornez.
Gornez explained that the Espina Hog Farm in Barangay Linangkob – the biggest in the city, has since imposed strict bio-security measures to prevent their hogs from getting infected with the deadly ASF virus and other diseases affecting animals.
He, however, has yet to get blood samples from Espina’s farm and sent them to a testing facility in General Santos City for confirmation.
“If the samples turned out to be negative, then the live hogs owned by Atty. Dina Espina-Chua would be spared from culling or depopulation,” said Gornez.
The ground zero of ASF in North Cotabato was recorded three weeks ago in Barangay Ilian in Magpet and spread to at least 10 barangays in town.
Culled hogs in Magpet town numbered to about a thousand, veterinary workers from North Cotabato said.
Hog raisers in Magpet and Kidapawan City are expected to receive P5,000 from the Department of Agriculture in Region 12 for every live pig culled, provincial veterinarian Dr. Rufino Suropia said.