6 Batangas areas declared ASF-free

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - June 22, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Five municipalities and a city in Batangas have been declared free from African swine fever (ASF), the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported yesterday.

These are the towns of Malvar, Nasugbu, Rosario, San Jose and Taysan, and Lipa City, according to the DA’s Agricultural Training Institute-International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ATI-ITCPH).

“This is the first local declaration that happened in our country and in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon). Batangas once again led in battling ASF,” Batangas provincial veterinarian Romel Marasigan said.

The ATI-ITCPH said the ASF-free declaration in these areas came 16 months after the first infection was recorded in Laurel town in February 2020.

Following the rise of ASF cases in the province, the ATI-ITCPH formed the technical working group Bantay ASF sa Barangay or BABay ASF to address the spread of the disease.

The task force was composed of local government units, National Livestock Program, hog raisers organizations and the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners.

“After 16 months, the public and private sector finally reap their fruits of labor as six of 18 areas are declared ASF-free zones,” the ATI-ITCPH said.

National ASF Task Force chief Samuel Castro said that while the BABay ASF program continued to be a challenge, Batangas has proven that it could be implemented.

He urged these ASF-free areas to share their best practices to help other regions move forward.

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported that only 19 barangays across the country recorded active ASF cases as of June 4.

Data from the BAI shows that the cases were recorded in nine barangays in Leyte – three in Palo town, two in San Miguel and one each in Barugo, Burauen, Mahaplag and Tunga.

Northern Samar and Ilocos Norte each have two barangays with active cases of the swine disease.

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