CAMALIGAN, CAM.SUR – Thirty nine (39) backyard swine raisers from seven (7) barangays of this municipality were paid indemnification amounting to P960,000,00 by the Department of Agriculture Bicol over the week. These were the owners of the 192 hogs depopulated as part of the protocol to stem the spread of the African Swine Fever which has already affected 10 municipalities in the province.  The   infected barangays in said  municipality  identified  within the 1 kilometer radius of the infected site or ground zero   include  San Roque, San Juan, San Marcos, Sto. Domingo, Marupit, San Francisco and Tarosanan.

This brings to a total of  5,554 heads of pigs owned by 1,133  raisers with a total indemnification value of  P27,770,000  already paid for via Fully-Verified system by the DA –Bicol since  it started paying  the  affected owners  last April 8, 2020 immediately after it received the requested   budget  totaling P27,770,00  from the  DA Central Office. It has forwarded its second fund request and  awaiting its release. The affected swine raisers from Bombon, Calabanga,  Magarao, , Naga City,  Minalabac and Canaman  and Camaligan which have completed the depopulation protocol   have already been paid for by the DA . Depopulation is still on-going for the  municipalities of Cabusao, Gainza and Pamplona .

During   the recent meeting of the DA  Regional Quick Response Team (RQRT)  which is overseeing the  prevention, management and control of emerging  animal diseases including the ASF , Regional Technical Director for  Regulations and Research  and presiding officer Dr. Edgar A. Madrid  noted some lapses in the  enforcement of the animal quarantine  protocol.  He said that the focus  of the checkpoints manned by the PNP  were on  the  restriction of human movement  to  control the spread of the COVID 19 virus.  As per information  gathered the PNP are not authorized to open and check delivery vans  or trucks  as this is the a function of the Highway  patrol group.

Madrid reiterated the need to focus on border control and intensify the campaign for sustained disinfection in  backyard farms  including in those areas  where depopulation has already been completed.

Although the joint efforts of the DA, Bureau of Animal Industry, National Meat Inspection Service, Local Government Units, the Provincial and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Councils, the PNP and other NGAs I is making headway to contain, control and eradicate ASF in the region, Bicol is still considered highly vulnerable to ASF infection. Being the gateway to Visayas and Mindanao the more it should exert all efforts to control the spread of this virus. Even amid the threat and hazard posed by COVID 19 continuous surveillance and strict monitoring of the implementation of the ASF zoning restrictions, border control, and implementation of biosafety measures must be sustained to ultimately achieve an ASF free status. (EMILY B. BORDADO/DA-RAFIS 5; Photos: Emil Pasumbal)