June 7, 2023

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Twenty swine raisers in this capital town whose livelihood were gravely affected by the African swine fever received “sentinel” pigs and starter feed on Oct. 19.

This is under the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion of the Department of Agriculture’s National Livestock Program.

The provision of one sentinel pig and one sack of starter feed each to the 20 hog raisers from barangays Bontoc Ili, Caluttit, Mainit, Maligcong, and Samoki was made possible with the technical assistance from the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist and the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPVet).

Municipal Agriculturist Renato Falag-ey said the sentinel protocol is a science-based approach that ascertains if a virus or disease is still present in an area.

The “sentinelling” is a prelude to President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration swine repopulation program to let backyard hog raisers go back to raising pigs, increase hog production, and subsequently stabilize the supply and price of pork.

Falag-ey said the recipient-barangays are where death and diseases of pigs or hogs were reported. Environmental swabbing for ASF was also conducted in the pigpens of the identified swine raisers by OMAg and OPVet personnel.

The sentinel piglets provided to the recipients were tested for diseases before they were turned over. The OMAg and OPVet shall monitor the piglets’ condition. After 40 days, they will administer environmental swabbing on pigpens for ASF and blood sampling to the sentinel piglets to determine if the areas are safe for repopulation.

Falag-ey reminded backyard hog raisers not to feed the pigs with swill, which is the main cause of ASF transmission, and to strictly comply with biosecurity protocols.

The activity was in time for the 49th National Meat Inspection Service and the 28th Meat Safety Consciousness Week observed every third week of October. The theme for this year’s joint celebration is “Kalusugan ng lahat ay mithiin, karneng ligtas dapat tangkilin”. – Alpine L. Killa