January 29, 2023

The spread of the African swine fever (ASF) virus will continue in Benguet unless local hog raisers heighten their biosecurity.
Provincial Veterinarian Miriam Tiongan underscored this last week, as she reported that new cases in Benguet are in the areas without previous cases of ASF since many hog raisers have lowered their biosecurity.
Biosecurity refers to measures taken to stop the spread or introduction of harmful organisms to human, animal, and plant life.
Tiongan said affected hog raisers still practice swill feeding or the feeding of food scraps to pigs. Also, they allow other people to enter in their pigpens without going through the proper disinfection practices. 
“Biosecurity has not been properly observed, although prior to the lockdown, we have been going around reminding them not to feed food scraps and not to allow entry to anyone in their farms. We also gave them disinfectants for free but I think it didn’t sink in,” Tiongan said.
Areas in the province with ASF cases are barangays Ambiong, Bineng, Puguis, Bahong, Wangal, Cruz, Pico, Lubas, and Tawang in La Trinidad; barangays Gumatdang, Tuding, Ucab, and Poblacion in Itogon.
The office also reported recent cases in Tuba and Sablan.  
She said their office has been conducting the test and destroy method in the areas with reported cases while they continuously give out free disinfection kits to the hog raisers.
Two hundred one heads of swine were depopulated during the first reported cases in the province last February then 137 heads were depopulated from May to June.
The office also reported around 100 heads were depopulated for July alone.
Considered as red zones in the province are La Trinidad, Itogon, and Tuba while Tublay and Sablan are pink zones. Labeled as green zones are Buguias, Kabayan, Bokod, Bakun, Mankayan, Atok, Kibungan, and Kapangan.
Red zones are those infected with ASF while pink zones are those adjacent to the infected areas and light green zones are those without cases.
Tiongan said those in the light green zones need to strengthen against the ASF as these are the areas where the red and pink zones will procure pork needs especially in this pandemic.
“We urge the hog raisers to be registered so we could properly monitor them and at the same time, they must also continue leveling up their biosecurity,” she said. – Ofelia C. Empian