The Provincial Veterinary Office (ProVet) is pushing for an ordinance aimed at strengthening the implementation of the African Swine Fever (ASF) control and monitoring program at the barangay level, a measure intended to ensure that the province will remain ASF-free.
Dr. Darius Mangcucang of ProVet said that the implementation of the program, dubbed as “BABay ASF or “Bantay ASF sa Barangay program,” will happen once the provincial ordinance is enacted.
“Pinapagawa tayo ng region na mag-create, enact ng ordinance bawat probinsya. Tapos i-adopt ‘yan into the municipal level para talagang lahat ay meron tayong mga task force na magtatrabaho diyan just in case na magkaroon talaga ng outbreak. Kasi hindi naman natin masabi, hindi naman tayo perfect na tao para mapigilan ‘yan,” he said.
“Papasok at papasok ‘yan kahit nagbabantay kasi maraming tao rin ang pasaway. Kumita lang ng pera, ‘yong illegal, ipapasok talaga nila. Sa haba pa naman ng coast line ng Palawan, kahit saan pwede sila magbaba ng kung anong gusto nila– Ongoing na ‘yon, nabanggit ‘yon sa amin ni board member (Ryan) Maminta. Baka siguro next month baka lumabas na rin ‘yon, baka okay na rin,” he added.
The province of Palawan has remained ASF-free since the outbreak in 2019.
However, Mangcucang stated that ProVet’s current manpower is insufficient to monitor various activities such as illegal entry of pork-based products and illegal hog slaughtering. Monitoring is carried out by the ProVet at the ports of entry of Coron, Busuanga, Brooke’s Point, Narra, Cuyo, San Vicente, El Nido, and Taytay.
He added that the illegal slaughtering of hogs was the reason why the first case of ASF was recorded in Marinduque.
“Ngayon hindi natin alam baka mamaya may sakit. Hindi natin alam, hindi na-check na ‘yon ay ASF pala. Kinatay-katay nila, binenta sa mga bahay-bahay, kalat-kalat tuloy ang sakit. Parang ‘yon ang nangyari don sa Marinduque, parang ganyan din, illegal na nagkakatay,” he stressed.
Through the BABay ASF, barangay animal health workers will be trained to do blood sample collection and will serve as bio-security officers. Weekly reports will be submitted by the trained animal health workers to the ProVet, which will also be part of the latter’s report to the regional office of the agriculture department.
“Ang magagawa ng Babay ASF sa Barangay, nagti-train kami, kasama ‘yong region, ng bio-security officer. Usually, mga barangay animal health workers ang kinukuha naming participants diyan. Ang magka-conduct diyan ay region talaga pero nakaraan sa Narra, kami nag-conduct kasi may restriction, ‘di sila makapasok dito,” he said.
“Ang participants namin sa bawat training ay 22 barangay animal health workers. Sila ‘yong magmo-monitor, tuturuan namin sila mag-blood collection sa mga piggery, sila rin ang magchi-check ng bio-security level ng farm—para mapanatili natin na safe ang farm natin, piggery. Weekly meron silang report sa amin, kami naman sa region,” he added.
The BABay ASF is a program of the DA that seeks to create an effective ASF monitoring, surveillance, and reporting system, to intensify the practice of biosecurity measures in all hog farms, and to assist in recovering the hog industry.