DUE to the African swine fever (ASF) scare, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has issued an executive order banning the entry of hogs and pork products from Luzon to Cebu City.
The order was signed on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.
The EO also prohibits restaurants and food establishments from selling leftover or swill to backyard hog raisers as this is one of the identified transmissions of the ASF virus.
Hogs and pork products coming from other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao are allowed entry to the city if these have the necessary permits and have complied with the requirements like a signed Veterinary Health Certificate, a shipping permit, and a livestock handler’s permit, among others. All the documents should be original copies.
The order was made in line with efforts to prevent the entry and spread of the ASF in the country.
Earlier, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also issued an advisory, reiterating the temporary ban on the importation, distribution, and sale of all processed pork meat products from countries affected by the ASF.
At the port of Cebu City, passengers need to voluntarily dispose of any pork and its by-products upon disembarkation or these will be confiscated by the City’s meat inspectors and deputized meat inspectors.
Section 3 of the EO states that receptacles will be installed in designated areas in the port of Cebu City for the disposal of all passengers’ hand-carried pork and its by-products whether cooked, frozen or preserved.
All the confiscated products will be immediately disposed of through incineration by the Office of the City Veterinarian.
Moving cargoes carrying live hogs that fail to comply with the “foregoing documentary quarantine requirements shall be stopped and refused disembarkation at the port of entry and shall be shipped back immediately to its port of origin,” the EO states.
An ad hoc committee led by City Veterinarian Jennifer Laurente was also formed to oversee the implementation of the EO.
Labella said the task force should constantly monitor updates related to the ASF.
Cebu, including Cebu City, is the fourth biggest producer of pork in the country with an P11 billion estimated annual contribution to the country’s agriculture industry.
“There is an urgent need for the Cebu City Government to prevent the entry of the ASF virus into the city and the rest of the province and save local backyard and commercial hog raisers from losses due to death of pigs,” Labella said.
An ABS-CBN News reported on Monday, Sept. 9, that 7,416 pigs within the one-kilometer radius of affected areas in parts of Rizal and Bulacan provinces had been culled.
Despite of no reported case of ASF in Cebu, the Provincial Government and other agencies have doubled their efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.
For Department of Agriculture 7 Director Salvador Diputado, as long as seaports and airports continue to tighten their security measures, hogs in Cebu will be kept safe from the deadly virus.
Last Friday, Sept. 13, the Province’s ASF Task Force intercepted a shipment of 150 hogs at the Tangil Wharf in the southwestern town of Dumanjug and sent this back to La Libertad in Negros Oriental.
The Provincial Veterinary Office and the Philippine Coast Guard found that the importer of the pigs did not secure all the requirements like the livestock handler’s permit, livestock and poultry transport/carrier registration form and the disinfection clearance.
Dr. Mary Rose Vincoy, ASF Task Force head, did not say if the hogs were infected with the ASF virus, adding that their focus was to make sure pig shipments have complied with the requirements so they could identify which farms the pigs came from.
“Some transit carrier are allowed to dock and get hogs from different places. We don’t know from what province it (pigs) came from. That’s why a disinfection clearance is very important,” Vincoy said in Cebuano.
The ASF is a contagious viral disease that inclusively infects pigs and wild boars. It does not cause disease in humans. (JJL, KFD)