SENTINEL PIGS. A hog raiser from San Simon, Pampanga shows the sentinel pig he received from the Department of Agriculture-Central Luzon on Tuesday (Aug. 16, 2022). He was one of the 26 African swine fever hit-hog raisers in Pampanga that received three sentinel pigs each. (Photo courtesy of the DA Region 3)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Agriculture in Central Luzon (DA-3) on Tuesday distributed sentinel piglets to 26 more hog raisers affected by the African swine fever (ASF) in this province.

Under the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) of the DA's National Livestock Program, the recipients were from San Simon town where each hog raiser received three sentinel pigs.

Agripina Tuazon, Agriculturist II of the DA’s Livestock Program, said on Wednesday 34 other hog raisers in San Simon will also receive sentinel pigs in the coming days.

“Ito ay naglalayong maiangat muli ang sector ng pagbababoy at matulungang makapagsimula ang mga magbababoy na naapektuhan ng ASF (This aims to reinvigorate the hog sector and to help start the hog raisers affected by ASF),” Tuazon said in a social media post.

Last Aug. 4, a total of 315 sentinel piglets were distributed to the ASF-hit swine raisers from the towns of Apalit, Minalin, and Macabebe.

Aside from this, the DA also provided disinfectants, antibiotics, and vitamins for the piglets.

Tuazon said the distribution of the sentinel piglets is geared toward swine repopulation.

However, she said the repopulation of hogs can only be allowed if the sentinel pigs could survive and progress to maturity without any trace of the ASF virus based on the close monitoring and laboratory results of blood samples.

“The sentinel pigs will be closely monitored for more than a month, if the animal shows good health standing then an area can be declared as ASF-free,” she said.

Tuazon reminded the backyard hog raisers not to feed the pigs with swill which is the main cause of the spread of ASF and to strictly comply with the biosecurity protocols. (PNA)