PNA file photo

The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) has reiterated its appeal for public assistance in stopping the entry of African swine fever (ASF), a viral disease that could decimate Palawan’s hog sector.

According to PVO officer-in-charge Dr. Darius Mangcucang, the provincial veterinary office is presently performing increased monitoring and surveillance efforts in municipalities where the ASF could potentially enter in cooperation with the BBO, municipal veterinarians, and agriculturists.

However, these measures are insufficient to prevent the spread of ASF, he said in a statement released for the PVO by the Provincial Information Office (PIO) on Wednesday.

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Participants during the tabletop exercise at the VJR Hall. Right photo shows PIO head Atty. Christian Jay Cojamco. (PIO photo)

Mangcucang stated that the public can help by being vigilant against the entry of live pigs and their processed meat products, particularly from mainland Luzon.

“Huwag po silang magpapasok ng mga processed food lalo na kapag ito ay galing sa mainland Luzon. Kasi once na makapasok ito ay malaki ang magiging epekto nito sa ating swine industry,” Mangcucang said.

“Gusto po nating mapanatili ito at magkaroon ng kabuhayan yung ating mga farmer lalo na sa pagbababuyan,” he added.

The provincial government of Palawan held a tabletop exercise for ASF preparedness on March 17-18 in an effort to boost its precautionary measures against the entrance of the viral swine fever into Palawan.

The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) National African Swine Fever Prevention and Control Program and the PVO led the tabletop exercise and made it happen at the VJR Hall in order to develop guidelines for how to handle the situation should it enter Palawan.

Regional executive director Antonio G. Gerundio of DA-Regional Field Office MIMAROPA and Mangcucang facilitated the exercise, which was also attended by provincial agriculturist Dr. Romeo C. Cabungcal, provincial information officer Atty. Christian Jay V. Cojamco, Yanika Eli Q. Seratubias of PDRRMO, representatives of Municipal Agriculture Offices (MAO), representatives of Municipal Veterinary Office (MVO), and others from the PNP, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Dr. Samuel Joseph Castro, DVM deputy program coordinator for National African Swine Fever Prevention and Control Program of the DA-BAI, said the ASF is a devastating disease that, if not prevented, might harm the province’s swine industry.evented.

This is why tabletop exercises, simulation exercises, and information campaigns about the ASF are essential for preparation.

“Ang ganito kalalang sakit gaya ng African swine fever needs to have a call of the nation approach. Kaya lahat ay kailangan tulong-tulong at sini-simulate natin kung saka-sakali na tamaan ang Palawan. In the event of having an African swine fever outbreak, we have to look into the level of preparedness ng province natin on how to deal with the problem para masugpo po natin agad,” Castro said.

“Makialam at makilahok doon sa programa ng Bantay ASF sa barangay, iyon ay isang call of the nation approach at lahat tayo ay mayroong role to play regardless kung implementer tayo sa government, private holders, stakeholders or consumers. Protektahan natin ang freedom from ASF ng ating lalawigan,” he added.

PH clinical study on ASF vaccine
In a report by state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that the clinical trial of a vaccine against ASF in the Philippines has generated favorable results thus far. Experts have now entered the research’s next phase.

Quoting DA Secretary William Dar in a press briefing on Monday, he reportedly said that an initial trial had already been successfully conducted from February 10 to May 6 in San Miguel, Bulacan, in collaboration with the BAI and the Universal Robina Corporation.

“In the trial, no clinical signs associated with ASF disease were observed and minimal non-ASF related mortality was posted,” Dar said.

The DA-BAI and Robina Corporation will now enter the second phase of the trial, which is expected to be concluded by June.

“The outcome was good! We were really encouraged. So what we will do in Phase 2, all of the vaccinated, we will place them in the previously infected farm hit by the ASF, for them to be greatly challenged. At the same time, we will feed them with infected blood and pancreas),” Universal Robina Corporation director Dante Palabrica said. (with a report from PNA)

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