BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government is drafting guidelines for the implementation of sentinel protocol in preparation for swine repopulation after losing thousands of hogs to African swine fever (ASF), hog cholera and other animal diseases in the past few months.
Since late August, there have been almost zero deaths reported in local government units (LGUs) across the province, data as of Tuesday showed.
“We are now drafting the guidelines to be adopted by every LGU. We are preparing to present this to the governor (Eugenio Jose Lacson) for his approval,” Dr. Placeda Lemana, provincial veterinarian, told reporters.
The "sentinel program" is a science-based approach to detect the presence of ASF virus in a particular area.
Lemana said that initially, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) will implement the program in areas of the fourth district in the south, which were the first to report hog deaths and eventually recorded the highest number of swine mortalities.
The sentinelling program can be applied in affected areas or barangays with zero swine deaths for more or less 40 days, she added.
The hog farmer should implement Biosecurity Level 1, which is the level of farm biosecurity in compliance with minimum standards set by the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners.
“The hog farm should have a fence, foot bath and drainage area. That’s what we require from the farmers. They should also register with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp.,” Lemana said.
The PVO chief noted that backyard hog raisers have started to approach their district offices to express intent to return to swine production.
“We told them to wait for a while. They can’t just raise hogs again without us checking their facilities. Our staff will assess the areas, take samples of the surroundings, and examine these in the laboratory. If the result turns out negative, that’s the time can raise hogs again,” she added.
Once they have set up their farms, the hogs will be placed under observation to determine if they will survive for two weeks to one month.
Supported by additional laboratory result that shows the area is negative for the virus, they can already continue, Lemana said.
In Negros Occidental, which has a PHP6-billion hog industry, almost 18,000 pigs have died in at least 20 LGUs, with an estimated loss value of close to PHP200 million since April this year, figures of the Provincial Animal Biosecurity Incident Management Team showed. (PNA)