The Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OVP) is proposing the allocation of P17 million in the provincial government’s budget for 2023 to fund its campaign in preventing the entry of the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) and protect the province’s P6-billion hog industry.
According to OVP chief Stella Lapiz, the amount will fund the creation of multiple task force units, hiring of personnel and the acquisition of sniffing dogs, among others, to boost its efforts to keep the province free from the hog-born disease which continues to spread and create outbreaks across the country.
Last year’s budget for the anti-ASF drive was estimated at less than P8 million.
“Nisaka atong budget by more than 100 percent karon tuiga ang budget for ASF, naa na tay for sniffing dogs and other expenses. Hilanglan gyud mag ready ta because for us, prevention is always better than cure,” said Lapiz.
Lapiz said they are proposing the establishment of an inter-agency task force that would help prevent the entry of the disease and also immediately implement measures to curb its spread should it be detected in the province.
“Kasagaran aning maong ASF na kaso, maong dili siya ma eliminate immediately from the index case kay late ang reporting, late ang reaction. So like any other disease, kung naa tay early detection ug naa tay early response ma-eliminate na siya, dili siya makakatag,” said Lapiz.
The inter-agency task force which will be established through an executive order will be headed by Governor Aris Aumentado and will be comprised of seven units.
Lapiz said that they will create teams for surveillance, information dissemination, resources and logistics, local governance, public security, food security and emergency preparedness and response within the task force.
She added that they have so far deployed eight sniffing dogs in various ports in the city, particularly those which cater to vessels from Mindanao and Luzon, and the Bohol Panglao International Airport.
The OVP chief credited the provincial government’s leadership for extending support to their efforts in keeping the province free of the disease, which has been projected to cause shortages in pork supply if it hits the province.
Bohol, under former Governor Art Yap and now Aumentado, has been implementing intensified measures against ASF since it was first detected in the country in mid-2019. (A. Doydora)