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ASF: Culling pays — fast!

w. commons PIGS eating heartily, free of the African swine fever.

Virgilio Raquil, a 65-year-old farmer and hog raiser in Barangay Gamay in Burauen, Leyte, was reluctant to surrender his 20 hogs for voluntary culling when the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) hit his village earlier this year.

Like his neighbors, Raquil thought his hogs were healthy and could not have contracted the virus. But his children persuaded him, knowing that depopulation was a necessary protocol to control the spread of the infection.

On Friday this week, Raquil received P100,000 in indemnification from the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Eastern Visayas for the 20 heads that he surrendered.

“In my village, many have resisted turning over their animals because according to them their pigs were not affected by the ASF virus. However, later their pigs contracted the disease, and it was already too late for them to surrender their hogs for depopulation,” Raquil said.

Raquil was one of the hog raisers who received their pay for the culled livestock. This week alone, DA-8 released P6.31 million to 339 hog raisers affected by ASF in the towns Palo, Burauen, and Tanauan in Leyte and Lope de Vega, Northern Samar.

Francis Rosaroso, chief of the DA-8 regional agriculture and fisheries information service, said a total of P18,245,000 in indemnification have already been released to 1,311 hog-raising farmers from 13 towns in the whole region.

Rosaroso said the speedy payout is part of the government’s efforts to encourage hog raisers badly hit by the ASF virus to get back to business and help stabilize pork supply and prices in the country.

Based on the latest data from the DA regional office, a total of 14,924 heads have already been culled since the first case of ASF in the region was reported last January.

Burauen town Mayor Juanito Renomeron said he did not expect a swift remuneration process for the hog raisers. To ease the burden of the hog raisers, the LGU of Burauen made an initial payment of P2,000 per culled pig.

“We were not expecting that the DA could indemnify our farmer hog raisers this fast,” Renomeron said.

Rosaroso said the agency is fast-tracking the indemnification for the culled hogs while it continues to closely monitor compliance of local government units with quarantine protocols to control the spread of the virus to other municipalities.

He said DA-8 is presently investigating reports of possible ASF cases in the towns of Guiuan in Eastern Samar and Matuguinao in Samar. He said blood samples of dead hogs have already been sent for an RT-PCR based laboratory testing in Manila.

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Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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