February 6, 2023

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Barangays in this capital town are ready to assist the government in containing the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.
The commitment is the result of the recent training on spe-cimen collection for barangay biosecurity officers (BBO).
BBOs refer to individuals at the barangay level or any assigned person by the local government unit who will serve as frontliners for ASF control in the community level. In Bontoc, most of the BBOs who attended the training are barangay councilmen, barangay health workers, and volunteers.
The training aims to 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 said agricultural technologist Sheryl Kate Tumingeb of the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist.
The training provided the BBOs skills and knowledge about the disease, specimen collection, and updates on the status of the ASF infection in Bontoc.
The BBOs will soon receive kits from the Department of Agriculture so they will be equipped with logistics as frontliners of the Bantay ASF sa Barangay Program. Each kit contains a tool box, disposable syringe, ice chest, coolant, rubber boots and cover, alcohol, face mask, umbrella, scrub suit, vacutainer, vacutainer needle, vacutainer needle holder, nitrile gloves, pig restrainer, sterile cotton swab, plastic, animal marker, and zipper bag.
As of March 2, a total of 134 hogs were reported dead and 78 were sick.
Of the reported deaths, nine were infected with the ASF. Of the sick hogs, 11 tested negative with ASF and have fully recovered.
Prevention of the spread of the ASF is attributed to the immediate intervention of the government through blood sampling, disinfection in pigpens, and intensified information education and communication 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 ASF-affected areas should be sold and consumed within the said area.
The task force is also reiterating its appeal to the public to refrain from buying fresh or frozen pork products coming from outside the province. Consumers from outlying barangays of Bontoc were also advised not to buy live or butchered pigs from ASF-affected areas to prevent the entry of the virus in their barangays. – Alpine K. Malwagay