BINMALEY, Pangasinan – The government’s current information education campaign, which aims to combat and possibly stop the spread of the African swine fever (ASF) in the various regions of the nation through information, was spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) through the organization of a three-day Risk Communication Strategies Workshop and ASF Strategic Planning Meeting recently.
The activity, which was attended by regional ASF coordinators and information officers, was designed to enhance the five current BAI strategies for combating ASF, including engagement with local government units, surveillance, biosecurity, capability and awareness, and recovery and repopulation.
African swine fever virus is a large, double-stranded DNA virus in the Asfarviridae family. This is what causes African swine sickness. The virus causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in domestic pigs; some isolates can kill an animal within a week of infection.
Dr. Karl Kigis, DA-RFO CAR Alternate ASF Coordinator, explained that this strategic planning meeting on ASF will help improve the actions being done by the DA-BAI on ASF concerns.
These activities are necessary because they will reinforce existing control measures, which are necessary if we are to successfully stop the spread of ASF. The key to a successful control effort, according to Kigis, is close coordination between the DA and its relevant agencies, concerned local government units, and the stakeholders who take ownership of a program that benefits farmers.
African swine fever is regarded as a severe transboundary animal illness that has had a significant negative impact on the nation’s swine industry. The national swine inventory has decreased by an estimated 36 percent, and there is currently no vaccine or treatment for the disease.
As of December 1, BAI has recorded five active cases at the regional level, nine at the provincial level, 25 at the municipal level, and 72 cases at the barangay level, having a commutative number of affected areas with 15 points in the region, 56 in the provincial level, 706 in the municipal level, and 4,186 in the barangay level.
The DA is still carrying out Executive Order no. 292, which established the Administrative Code of 1987 and gave the agriculture secretary the authority to issue any rules and regulations required to carry out the department’s goals, policies, functions, plans, programs, and projects.
The Bantay ASF sa Barangay (Babay) is a community-based approach to preventing, managing, and controlling ASF by applying sound epidemiological principles and available technology like the ASF rapid test kits in collaboration with LGUs and swine raisers. It was developed under EO 292 by the agriculture department in conjunction with the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners (PCSP), a collegial body of swine veterinarians.
The revised ASF action plan, based on the workshop participants’ actual experiences, is anticipated to be published in 2023.