KALIBO, Aklan -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Western Visayas has issued a memorandum urging all local government units (LGUs) and cities in the region to temporarily ban the crossing of live pigs.
Engr. Ariel O. Iglesia, DILG regional director, said the resolution is meant to protect the region from the threat of African Swine Fever (ASF).
The DILG memorandum stemmed from an earlier resolution of the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council recommending all LGUs to pass provincial and city ordinances for the temporary ban.
Reports from the Philippine Statistics Authority said that there are at least 1.23 million pigs in the region.
ASF is a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. It cannot be treated and has no approved vaccine. This transboundary animal disease has been responsible for serious production and economic losses in affected countries abroad. It can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products.
Among those affected countries are Belgium, Latvia, Mongolia, Laos, Zambia, Hong Kong, North Korea, Hungary, Moldova, South Africa, Poland, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine, and Germany.
Dr. Christine Lyn Melgarejo, veterinary quarantine officer at the Kalibo International Airport (KIA), said they recently monitored some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), mostly coming from China, bringing home processed and canned meat products.
"We confiscated all of them because of the threat of the ASF," she said, adding that the processed and canned meat products were being brought as "pasalubong".
From January to July 15 this year, Melgarejos's team has confiscated around 538.56 kilos of processed and canned meat products from passengers arriving at KIA.
Aside from OFWs, foreign tourists are also bringing in pork products to be consumed while on vacation in Boracay Island.
The KIA served as the main gateway to Boracay. (SunStar Philippines)