NATIVE PIGS. The Department of Agriculture in the Cordillera Administrative Region is pushing for the ‘Bantay ASF sa Barangay’ (BaBay) program as a long-term control measure against African swine fever that has greatly affected the country’s swine industry. The Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center breeds native pigs that the department distributes to residents as part of the swine repopulation program -- a key component of BaBay. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing for the “Bantay ASF (African swine fever) sa Barangay” (BaBay) as a possible long-term control measure against the animal disease that has greatly affected the country’s hog industry.

In a press release sent to media Thursday, Dr. Karl Kigis, DA-Cordillera Administrative Region’s (CAR) ASF coordinator, said BaBay is a community-based approach to preventing, managing and controlling ASF by applying sound epidemiological principles and available technology like the ASF rapid test kits in collaboration with LGUs and swine raisers.

“The concept of BaBay has, as components, the local government units’ engagement, surveillance efforts, implementation of biosecurity, capacitating and increasing the awareness of the village residents, as well as the recovery and repopulation effort spearheaded by the DA-BAI (Bureau of Animal Industry), and the stakeholders towards an ASF-free community,” he said.

According to him, the concept was popularized by the agriculture department together with the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners (PCSP), which is composed of swine veterinarians due to the severe transboundary animal illness which has a significant negative impact on the nation’s swine industry.

“The key to a successful control effort is close coordination between the DA and its relevant agencies, concerned local government units, and the stakeholders who take ownership of a program that benefits farmers,” Kigis said.

“ASF has no treatment, thus making BaBay an important factor in controlling the spread of the disease among pigs. Strategic planning activities on ASF are also necessary in order to reinforce existing control measures, and improve the actions being done by the BAI. These are all necessary if we are to successfully stop the spread of ASF,” he said. (PNA)