The province of Guimaras is working on the necessary documentation and series of tests to prove it is already free of African swine fever (ASF), according to an official of the Department of Agriculture Western Visayas (DA-6) on Wednesday. Dr. Jonic Natividad, chief of the DA Regulatory Division, said the province is a candidate for the recovery program, however, they have yet to validate and conduct a series of tests as part of the requirements. ‘They are working on documentation and a series of tests to prove their freedom from the disease. If they are in the pink or yellow zones and have complied with other requirements, then the BAI (Bureau of Animal Industry), the sole authority for that, will declare that they are ready for sentineling,’ he said in an interview on Wednesday. He said blood specimens submitted by the province to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in June showed a negative result. As of the June 14, zoning map of the BAI, the municipalities of San Lorenzo and Sibunag are included in the pink or buffer zone, Nueva Valencia in the yellow or surveillance zone, and the towns of Buenavista and Jordan remain under the infected zone. The nine barangays with recorded cases are in Buenavista and Jordan with 376 swine mortalities, including the 140 depopulated heads based on the July 14 report of the DA. Pink is situated immediately around the infected zone, while yellow is adjacent to the buffer zone, both have no detected cases of ASF. Natividad explained that during the sentineling, they will be putting experimental pigs to determine if the virus is still present in the area. ‘If there are no mortalities within 30 to 90 days as per protocol, we will proceed to the repopulation,’ he added. As part of the documentation process, they will also conduct a biosecurity audit to look into the practices of farmers affected and those that were not and determine what needs to be improved. ‘We have trained people there since 2020. We have trained barangay biosecurity officers and we expect that they have it channeled to LGUs (local government units), if not with the ATI (Agricultural Training Institute), our training arm, we are ready to augment,’ he said. The official said that swine growers must also observe proper disinfection and biosecurity measures.
Source: Philippines News Agency