June 23, 2024

Kapangan, Kibungan, and Bakun are the only towns in Benguet without a case of African swine fever since its first reported occurrence in the country in 2019.

Provincial Veterinarian Miriam Tiongan said the three towns have actively participated in the projects and programs of her office to prevent the entry of the animal diseases in their areas.

Tiongan said the Kapangan local government together with the municipal police has put up checkpoints, especially in the entry points, during the first reported outbreak in the province. 

“Kapangan is vigilant. It has intercepted the entry of undo-cumented shipments of swine and swine meat and products in its established checkpoints,” Tiongan said.

Public vigilance also paid off for nearby Kibungan in making the landlocked town ASF-free.

Tiongan said Bakun remains ASF-free due to its geographical location, which is far from the national highway and its entry points are limited.

The federated group of hog raisers in Bakun has also agreed not to source out piglets from outside the municipality. 

Earlier, Tiongan said most of the infected hog raisers are those located along the national highway or whose pig pens are located in areas where there is foot traffic.

Almost all of the earlier reported cases in the province were due to the local raisers’ buying infected piglets from ASF-infected regions mostly through online transactions.

The piglets were unscrupulously shipped and did not pass through the provincial quarantine checkpoints.  

The ASF                                      infection has no cure and can be spread through direct contact with infected pigs, feces or body fluids, indirect contact via fomites such as equipment, vehicles or people who work with pigs between pig farms with ineffective biosecurity, pigs eating infected pig meat or meat products, and swill feeding.

La Trinidad  logged a recent case of ASF with one backyard hog raiser affected. Tiongan said based on their investigation, the pigs were fed with meat-based foods taken from restaurants and then mixed with feeds. 

No new cases were monitored in other towns while Mankayan and Buguias had no new infections since September. 

Benguet is on its way to raising its pig populations with the decline in number from 35,000 adult pigs and piglets inventoried in 2019 to 25,000 current pig populations from backyard farmers in the province.

Kibungan, Kapangan, and Bakun were the first towns to receive piglets from the P1.5 million fund from the provincial government for pig repopulation.

Recently included are Tublay and Buguias. The other municipalities will follow once the 90-day disinfection is complete.

Tiongan reminded hog raisers to continue strictly adhering to biosecurity protocols in their farms, not to buy from unscrupulous dealers, not to feed collected leftover foods to their hogs, and to report incidents of sickness or death in their farms. – Ofelia C. Empian