Reliable source said that in the late February 2020, just before then Acting Governor Shirley Abundo issued a temporary total ban on the entry into the island of live pigs, pork and pork products, a

certain hog raiser, Carla Zafe, sent a letter to the Capitol urging strict implementation of such a ban.

            For a while, my highly observant bubuwit said that “wish came true. Accordingly, municipalities put up checkpoints at their borders while the borers while ports of entire were kept under close watch, leading to the seizure of hundreds or thousands of kilos of hot meat products.”

             Then, unfortunately, came the national community quarantine to control the spread of corona virus. PDU30 then declared a state of emergency in Luzon and the entire country later on. In an instant, my bubuwit observed, the ASF checkpoints disappeared, replaced by similarly manned checkpoints to intercept violators of lockdowns, curfews and health protocols.

              The unconscionable and unscrupulous swine raisers, butchers and its cohorts begun smuggling in virus-carrying pigs from Camarines Sur, some in fact, renting motorized bancas from punong barangays and using their clout with local politicians to pass throughCOVID checkpoints.

              On the one hand, a ranking of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has pinned the blame on the recent typhoons that devasted Catanduanes provincewide and the subsequent relief effort for the African Swine Fever (ASF) in our Happy Island province.

              DA Regional Director Technical Director for Research and Regulatory Services Edgar Madrid said the culprit behind the outbreak of the untreatable viral disease among pigs in the towns of Bato, San Andres, San Miguel, Viga and Virac, was ST Rolly.

               Madrid claimed that “some of the virus carriers were the personnel who delivered food and other assistance for typhoons victims. It did not pass inspection so as not to hamper the delivery of relief goods.”

              Following reports of hogs dying or getting sick in several barangays and government breeding farms in the province, the Provincial Veterinary Office headed by Dr. Jane  Rubio, in coordination with the Municipal Agricultural Offices (MAOs) immediately secured blood samples and organ speciamens and sent them to the Reginal Aimal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL) in Camalig, Abay last Dec. 14 for analysis, my informant added.

              Two days after it was sent to RADDL for analysis 35 out 40 samples examined tested positive results from the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.

                Accordingly, the 35 samples that tested positive of ASF viral DNA came from Wagdas,Batong Paluway, Cabacb, Datag and Bagong Sirang, all in San Andres; Viga Breeding Station at San Vicente, Viga; Catanduanes State University, College of Agriculture and Fisheries (CatSu-CAF) at Calatagan, Tibang, Catanduanes, Virac; San Isidro Village, Valencia, Gogon, Calatagan, and Sta. Elena, all in Virac; San Miguel poblacion; and Cabugao in Bato.

                 Gov. Joseph C. Cua, upon receipt of such information, immediately informed the five towns exectitives and convened the Provincial ASF Task Force (PASF-TF for an urgent virtual meeting with the DA’s Regional Quick Response Team last December 18. (To be continued).