SAN AGUSTIN, Pili, Camarines Sur—The Regional Quick Response Team (RQRT) composed of veterinarians from the Department of Agriculture-5 (DA), National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and different provincial governments in the Bicol Region attended the African Swine Fever RQRT Meeting on January 13, 2020 to give updates on their accomplishments in the provincial and regional levels and to have a unified activities to maintain the status of the Bicol Region as ASF-free.

The team was activated and mobilized in 2019 to implement measures and strengthen the campaign against ASF.

DA-5 Regulatory Division Chief Rose Imperial urged the veterinarians to aggressively pursue all measures and means to keep Bicol as a protected zone against ASF considering that nearby regions have already been reported to have ASF cases.

DA-5 Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations Dr. Edgar R. Madrid said that DA and the LGUs have increased the number of directed personnel to man the animal checkpoints in all entry points in Bicol especially in Tabugon, Camarines Norte. Persons who will try to bring in live pigs nor pork products without proper documents like transport permit and Veterinary Health Certificate will be apprehended and penalized and the products will be confiscated and burned.

With heightened monitoring in checkpoints and the effective implementation of policies of government agencies and private partners, the Bicol Region is still ASF-free.

“But we should continue to roll our sleeves up for the advancement and economic progress of our farmers and fishermen,” Madrid said.

Moreover, DA-5 Regional Animal Health Coordinator Dr. Josefina U. Bañadera and National Veterinary Quarantine Service-5 Dr. Roxanne P. Aquino discussed the National Zoning and Movement Plan for the Prevention and Control of ASF which will be implemented on January 15, 2020 in all checkpoints and ports. Thus, these checkpoints, ports and terminals will have additional manpower.

National Meat Inspection Service-5 (NMIS) OIC-Regional Technical Director Dr. Alex B. Templonuevo said that personnel from LGUs and the Food and Drug Administration will assist NMIS in monitoring pork products in malls and supermarkets.

Aside from the updates, the provincial veterinarians of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Masbate reported their activities on ASF and Rabies.

The RQRT also presented their plans for this year to strengthen their partnership and ensure preparedness in case there is a positive case in the region. These include information and advocacy campaign on Administrative Circular No. 12; surveillance, monitoring and strong partnership with private and government agencies; updating of Animal Inventory and Animal Health Information System; strict implementation of Biosecurity Procedures in backyard, commercial, slaughterhouse, market and trading areas; simulation and table-top training and exercise during animal disease emergence; and the re-tooling workshop on collection and sampling animal bloods. (jaysonmgonzales)

Albay OIC-Veterinarian Dr. Pancho Mella discusses their provincial activities on ASF, RABIES and DAIRY PROGRAM.

DA-Bicol Regional Information Officer Emilia B. Bordado informs the attendees that all IEC materials have a format coming from the DA-Central Office.

The attendees of the meeting with RTD for Research and Regulation Dr. Gary Madrid.