ASF spreads to other parts of Cebu province; LGU still against culling

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) – African Swine Fever has already spread to different parts of Cebu province, according to a March 20 bulletin from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

The latest affected areas include Cebu City, Liloan, Tuburan, Bogo City, and Sibonga.

Carcar City was the first to detect the supposed ASF infestation on the first week of March.

The animal bureau said samples from the backyard farms in the area were sent to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory for RT-PCR tests which it considers as the "gold standard" in the testing and confirmation of ASF virus.

The BAI said it is conducting further investigation to "determine the extent of the outbreak in the province."

Pig culling

The BAI also recommends the culling of pigs or depopulation within an area of 500 meters, but Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia earlier issued a no-culling order.

READ: Cebu governor defies ASF protocol, orders suspension of culling

"The depopulation policy is recognized worldwide as the most logical and tested means to contain the virus in the affected area," the BAI added.

In a statement, Cebu Provincial Legal Officer Donato Villa said Cebu Province will continue with its plan to formulate its own protocols, saying what the BAI wants is “unrealistic and has not gone through consultation with the LGUs and the Province of Cebu.”

Villa added that the BAI failed to comply with Section 2C, Section 25B, Section 27 of the Local Government Code.

He said that the animal bureau should be reminded that it should consult and involve the local government units and the Province of Cebu in the planning and implementation of the program and policy.

The provincial lawyer warned that cases can be filed against national agency officials who may have committed an offense in connection with their actions.