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Nation

Swine disease, bird flu cases down – BAI

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The number of regions affected by African swine fever (ASF) and avian influenza declined this month, according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

At a press conference yesterday, BAI assistant director Jonathan Sabiniano said ASF-hit regions are down from 14 to five as of Aug. 4.

He said these are the Cordilleras, Central Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga peninsula and Soccsksargen.

Ruth Miclat-Sonaco, director of the national livestock program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said areas currently classified under yellow or surveillance zone for ASF are seen to transition to green zone or free from the disease within the year.

She said the DA allocated around P1.2 billion under the National Livestock Program to manage, control and eradicate swine disease in the country.

Next year, Sonaco said P500 million would be allotted for ASF control, with nearly half of the amount to be used for the procurement of a vaccine once it is available.

“We hope next year or in the next two years, we will have one good vaccine. Everyone is coming up with it,” she said.

If the vaccine will not be available, she said the amount allocated for its procurement would instead be used for surveillance and monitoring of the disease.

Meanwhile, from the previous nine regions, only the Cordilleras and Central Luzon remain affected by avian flu.

Sabiniano said the Philippines may be declared free of bird flu this year.

“The BAI has been working double time, 24 hours a day to really guard our borders. Our border inspectors are there. Disinfection facilities are working 24/7,” he said.

The DA said P27.5 million would be released to the BAI for control and prevention of bird flu.

ASF

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