BONTOC, Mountain Province- Barangays in this capital town have step-up and are now ready to assist the government in containing the further spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus since pigs and piglets infected with the ASF virus were reported from October last to February 2022.
This, following the recent conduct of Training on Specimen Collection for Barangay Biosecurity Officers (BBOs) of Bontoc funded by the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) Regional Office. As its counterpart, the Provincial Government of Mountain Province through the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian provided resource speakers during the one-day training which was participated in by 12 identified and/or volunteered BBOs. BBOs refer to individuals at the Barangay Level or any assigned person by the LGU who will serve as front liners for ASF Control in the Barangay Level. In Bontoc, most of the BBOs who attended the training are Barangay Kagawad, Barangay Health Workers, and volunteers.
According to Agricultural Technologist Sheryl Kate Tumingeb from the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMAg), the training aimed to control and prevent the further spread of the ASF virus at the barangay level through disease surveillance and monitoring, reporting, investigation, response, and implementation of biosecurity measures.
She said that the training provided the BBOs the necessary skills and knowledge as they were updated with the status of the ASF Infection in Bontoc. Also, the resource speakers discussed the duties and functions of BBOs and Biosecurity on Farms and Specimen Collections.
Tumingeb added that trained BBOs will soon receive kits from the DA-ATI Regional Office so they will be equipped with necessary logistics as frontliners of the Bantay ASF Sa Barangay Program. Each kit contains a tool kit box, disposable syringe, Ice Box Chest, coolant, rubber boots and cover, alcohol, face mask, umbrella, scrub suit, Vacutainer (5ml), Vacutainer needle, Vacutainer needle holder, nitrile gloves, pig restrainer, sterile cotton swab (six inches), plastic, animal marker, and zip lock.
Per a report from the OMAg, as of March 2, 2022, a total of 134 hogs were reported dead while 78 were sick. Of the reported death and sick hogs, only nine were confirmed infected with the ASF virus. Meanwhile, of the sick hogs, 11 tested negative with ASF and have been fully recovered.
The prevention of the spread of the ASF virus to hogs is attributed to the immediate intervention of the government through blood sampling, disinfection in pigpens, and intensified information education and communication (IEC) campaign among swine raisers, meat vendors, and the public.
Likewise, the ASF Municipal Task Force earlier appealed to the public, meat vendors, and butchers that pigs raised and butchered in the ASF-affected areas will be sold and consumed within the said area.
The ASF Task Force is also reiterating its appeal to the public to refrain from buying fresh or frozen pork products coming from outside the province. Likewise, consumers from outskirt barangays of Bontoc are advised not to buy live or butchered pigs from identified ASF-affected areas to prevent the entry of the ASF virus in their respective barangays.