BAI Press Statement on Carcar Situation
The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reports that African Swine Fever (ASF) has been detected in Cebu City, Liloan, Sibonga, Tuburan, and Bogo City in the province of Cebu. The sample collection was conducted in backyard farms by the respective local government units (LGUs) as part of the disease investigation and surveillance. Samples were then submitted to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (RADDL) Region VII and tested using Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), the gold standard for testing and confirming the ASF virus.
The BAI continues to coordinate with DA Regional Field Office VII and LGUs to gather data and reports on other areas with suspected cases of ASF as part of a traceback investigation to determine the extent of the outbreak in the province.
African Swine Fever (ASF) is a deadly and highly contagious disease of pigs. Prevention and control of the virus remains challenging since there is no available vaccine yet. The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recommend the implementation of depopulation or culling of affected and exposed swine within a 1-kilometer radius. Taking into consideration the Philippine situation and the devastating effects to the livelihood of our backyard farmers and hog industry, the government has reduced the depopulation area to 500 meters. The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) through the National ASF Prevention and Control Program (NASFPCP) has been implementing this protocol recognizing the burden that ASF has given to our countrymen. The depopulation policy is recognized worldwide as the most logical and tested means to contain the virus in the affected area.
The BAI works closely with Veterinary Offices and Agriculture Offices of the Local Government Units and DA-Regional Field Offices in the implementation of ASF prevention and control strategies. Awareness campaigns and meetings are carried out to ensure that the implementers are aware of what to do so as to prevent further spread of ASF, what to expect when there is an ASF positive area, and what they can do to contain the ASF virus. The implementation of the policies such as strict biosecurity, implementing the control strategies including depopulation and surveillance are highly dependent on the cooperation of the local government as well as the stakeholders.
On July 13, 2022, the BAI-NASFPCP conducted the African Swine Fever Preparedness Tabletop Exercises (APTTX) in Cebu City attended by the Cebu Provincial Veterinary Office, City Veterinary Office including Carcar City Veterinary Office and the different Municipal Agriculture Offices which aimed to equip the participants on how to prevent and control ASF incursion in Cebu and to protect the province’s ASF-free status.
All the protocols which are being implemented by the BAI are evidenced based actions and proven to be the best option for us as of date while there is still no approved vaccine. We continue to work closely with other government agencies, local governments, provincial governments, up to the grassroots level to inculcate the responsibility of preventing ASF from spreading further in the country. The responsibility lies not only among the implementers but also among the hog farmers, consumers, travelers, traders and the public who are the most affected in the pandemic that is ASF.
We understand that the affected farmers are sacrificing their livelihood and we appreciate their selflessness to follow the protocols in place. This sacrifice does not go in vain as we work diligently and work hand in hand with you, our stakeholders, in protecting the hog industry. ###