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In Pangasinan, a hog sentineling operation has begun.

As part of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the provincial government of Pangasinan’s African swine fever (ASF) recovery initiative, 135 swine backyard raisers from San Quintin, Tayug, Natividad, Asingan, and Umingan towns received sentinel hogs and feeds.

Assistant provincial veterinarian Jovito Tabajeros said in a phone interview on Monday that under the sentineling scheme, each backyard raiser whose swine were then infected by ASF received three pigs and 11 bags of food worth PHP50,000.

“The sentinels will be monitored for 90 to 120 days before being tested. If the tests come back negative, the area will be proclaimed free and hog repopulation can begin, according to Tabajeros.

He stated that the sentinel animals will be monitored for 40 days with their help.

Backyard hog raisers had already prepared for the ASF recovery program by cleaning and disinfecting the sites where the sentinel hogs would be placed prior to the sentineling operation.

The ASF test kits, as well as reader and laboratory equipment, power sprayers, ASF responder kits, and disinfectants, were donated by the DA.

“One month of disinfection and 20 days of environmental swabbing to see if putting sentinel pigs in these regions is already safe.” And we could start the sentinel (animal testing) phase right now,” Tabajeros said.

The initiative will be expanded to include other hog farmers in Pangasinan who are affected by ASF.

In the municipalities of Agno, Anda, Bani, Bolinao, Dasol, Infanta, Binmaley, Sual, Labrador, Lingayen, Mangatarem, Calasiao, Sta. Barbara, Mangaldan, Asingan, Natividad, Umingan, and San Carlos City, he added, there are a total of 116 clusters.

According to Tabajeros, no new ASF cases have been reported in the province.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar stated during a visit to Pangasinan last year that PHP38.2 million had been set aside for the province’s repopulation effort following the ASF outbreak.

The procedure of declaring an area ASF-free has been overturned, according to Dar. Instead of the DA, local government entities will now check to see if the region is no longer affected by the ASF.

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