Since the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Philippines in July 2019, the government has been consistent in taking actions to prevent this fatal virus from spreading.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) took charge and launched the twin pig repopulation programs—the Bantay ASF sa Barangay or BABay ASF Program and the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) Program. 

To effectively and efficiently implement these efforts on ASF disease response and management, DA relies on the wide and far reaching  network of the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFCs) to monitor and track its programs and projects down to the grassroot levels.

As a support, the Bicol Regional AFC (RAFC) organized a blended orientation on both programs in Camarines Norte on October 15, 2021. Aside from the blended activity in Camarines Norte, a face-to-face orientation on BABay ASF Program and INSPIRE Program was also conducted in Albay on October 25, 2021.

This activity aimed to increase awareness among community leaders and partners on the swine recovery and repopulation programs and discuss biosecurity measures to successfully control ASF towards the revival of the Swine Industry in the Bicol Region. 

It was clarified in the orientation that the INSPIRE Program is different from the Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) Program. The INSPIRE Program, with its recent kick-off in Batangas in February 2021, undertook bio-secured housing and procurement of land. 

Aspiring program beneficiaries must be accredited Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and registered under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

Other available government assistance to hog raisers were also tackled, particularly the insurance policies being offered by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC). PCIC informed the stakeholders that all their farm animals, including poultry, layer, broiler, and duck, could be applied for insurance as long as they are registered in RSBSA.

On the other hand, the DA Regional Field Office V reminded the partners and stakeholders that municipalities could only be declared ASF-free if they have completed the set requirements, including the ratification of a Municipal Ordinance on adopting BABay ASF.

MAFC Pili was requested to share its implementation strategies and the outline of the local ordinance to be used as a guide by other municipalities.

Maria Teresa Rivaldo from the Camarines Norte Provincial Veterinary Office also explained the importance of knowledge-sharing sessions like these in recovering from a national calamity.

“I feel na di pa nakaka-move on ang ating hog raisers despite the indemnification. Pero at the end, naintindihan na nila ang tungkol sa sentinel animals na tulong para sa kabutihan ng raisers natin. Important na maipaliwanag sa ating farmers ang ating mga nalalaman,” Rivaldo said. | JCL