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‘Sentinel’ hogs for ASF-hit areas

Agriculture officials will field sentinel hogs to barangays affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) four months after the last culling.

Noel Provido, chief of the Regional Agriculture and Fishery Information Section of Department of Agriculture, said the sentinel hogs will be put on a six-week trial period to test whether they will show signs of swine infection or not.

After the six-week period and the hogs show no signs of infection, it will be the time when the DA begins the repopulation program for the affected barangays.

Sentinel animals are placed in a given environment and monitored to find out if an infectious disease or harmful agent is still present in that environment. The usual protocol of disinfection is approximately about four months after the last scheduled culling.

ASF has affected two city barangays – Dominga and Lamanan, both in Calinan District. This resulted to the culling of 2,343 hogs in the two barangays that ended last February 12. The city government released a P20 million financial assistance to the affected 536 hog raisers.

However, the ASF virus spread to other barangay.

The latest to hit is Barangay Inayangan, also in Calinan District. The barangay is within the monitored seven-kilometers radius of both Dominga and Lamanan.

Dr. Cerelyn Pinili, the City Veterinarian Office head, said blood samples taken from hogs in Barangay Inayangan sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) satellite facility at the University of the Philippines- Mindanao last Tuesday yielded positive result from the ASF virus.

Meanwhile, the 19th City Council held a special session on Friday, as directed by Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte.

Majority Floor Leader Melchor Quitain Jr. announced that the vice mayor wants to hold a special session to tackle urgent documents from the executive department concerning the ASF. Also discussed was the budget needed for Inayangan.

“The information is quite hazy but it has something to do with ASF. There was an additional barangay affected,” Quitain told TIMES. “The government (national and local) is doing everything to control this.”

It can be recalled that the legislative body approved P20 million in financial assistance for the affected hog raisers in barangays Dominga and Lamanan.

Quitain also stressed that pork (meat) here in the city is still safe for consumption. “Only a portion is affected and those affected (hogs) were already culled,” he said.

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