SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR – Twenty (20) Bicol towns are now lifted from Red Zone to Pink Zone or buffer zone and declared free from African Swine Fever (ASF) as of July 15, 2022.Seven (7) towns and two (2) cities in Albay were declared ASF free namely: Daraga, Malilipot, Malinao, Pio Duran, Polangui, Bacacay, Oas, Ligao City and Tabaco City. In Cam. Sur, two (2) towns – Baao and Sipocot and the City of Iriga were declared ASF free. In Cam. Norte, four (4) towns are already ASF free, namely: Sta. Elena, Jose Panganiban, Labo and San Vicente. And in Sorsogon, the city of Sorsogon and the three (3) municipalities of Bulan, Sta. Magdalena and Gubat were declared ASF free.

These 20 towns/cities were declared ASF free following 40-day period of successful deployment of sentinel pigs to areas previously affected by ASF, where hogs within 1-kilometer radius were depopulated. No active outbreak in both backyard and commercial hog farms, and the lab test results of the blood samples from sentinel pigs deployed for 40 days came out negative. These towns also enacted ordinances, issued executive orders or resolutions dealing with the prevention and control of ASF.

A total of 64 Bicol towns were affected by ASF since the start of the ASF outbreak in February 2020.

Some 61 municipalities were already provided with sentinel pigs or 95.3% of the total number of towns affected by ASF in 2020-2021. A total of 410 Barangay Biosecurity Officers (BBOs) in Bicol have been trained on specimen collection by the DA and the Agricultural Training Institute since May 2021.

Some 136 BBOs were also trained on biosecurity surveillance and sample collection for ASF control.

(Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS 5)