By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – While Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson welcomed with optimism and skepticism the opening of new ferry trips between Pulupandan town and neighboring Guimaras province, he said it poses a challenge to the fight against African Swine Fever (ASF).
Lacson said that while it is also a positive tourism development for both Guimaras and Negros, it will also affect efforts to stop the entry of ASF, as he expects more human traffic with these ferry trips.
Earlier, the DA-6 regional office confirmed the detection of ASF cases in Guimaras, aside from six Iloilo towns.
The Office of the Provincial Veterinarian of Negros Occidental has further tightened security at all possible entry points in the coastal municipalities of the 4th district facing Guimaras island.
ASF is a large double stranded virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates among domestic hogs.
The hog industry in Negros Occidental is the top backyard swine producer in the country and is valued at P6 billion.
Hogs and pork products from Panay island and Guimaras are currently banned in Negros Occidental.
Negros Occidental remains ASF-free as of this time, according to Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Placeda Lemana.
The PVO has mobilized trained para-veterinarians in the different coastal barangays of 4th district to watch their respective areas.
A joint ASF task force was also created by the provincial government of Negros Occidental and highly urbanized Bacolod City to guard the major ports and airports in the province against the entry of ASF.
The NaviMar Shipping announced that it started RoRo trips from Pulupandan Port to Sebaste Port Guimaras on Jan 21, 2023.