AN OFFICIAL of the Provincial Veterinary Office said lifting the ban on processed meat products would put the hog industry at risk of the African Swine Fever (ASF).
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered local government units (LGUs) to exclude processed meat products from the ban imposed as preventive measures against ASF.
Provincial veterinarian Dr. Benjamin Resma said they have yet to receive the order, but allowing the entry of processed meat here might expose the P25-billion hog industry of the region in danger.
Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año said he has issued an order directing all the LGUs to exempt Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-certified processed meat products from their import bans.
The DILG order was issued after the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) said in a statement that they may incur P50 billion to P60 billion in losses due to import bans imposed by provincial and local governments.
The group noted that while Cebu and Cagayan de Oro have their own ham production capabilities, “their total production will not be able to supply the needs of the region, unless the ban on Luzon-produced pork-based processed meats is rationalized”.
Misamis Oriental is one of the first provinces in Mindanao to issue a ban on meat products, initially only from ASF-affected products, but later on became a ban on meat products coming from Luzon.
The temporary total ban covers live hogs, pork, frozen boar semen, canned goods from pork such as pork meat loaf, pork sausages, and pork mechado, including processed pork meat products such as bacon, hams, pork tocino, longganiza, pork hot dogs, and others. Pork siopao and pork siomai products from Luzon are also banned.
“Kung ako lang, dili gyud ko musugot anyway temporary ban lang man na, mo-follow nalang kita until ma-declare ang country na ASF-free,” Resma said.
“Tinuod nga dako ang alkansi sa ilang negosyo pero kung muigo pud sa Mindanao, mas grabi ang alkansi sa magbubuhi sa baboy, daghan mawad-an ug trabaho. Mas grabe ang alkansi kung maigo ta dinhi kay imagine mahurot atong baboy,” he said.
However Resma said, if the DILG mandates local governments to follow, the provincial government will respect the order.
DA-Northern Mindanao veterinary officer Dr. Julesben Cesar Maquiling, for his part, acknowledged that supply might be a problem especially the holidays is fast-approaching.
Maquiling said while a ban is in effect, it is an opportunity for residents of Northern Mindanao to patronize and buy locally-produced processed meat products.
He said locals can ensure that the locally-produced products are safe to eat.
Department of Trade and Industry-Northern Mindanao director Linda Boniao said the agriculture department is in charge of the lifting of the ban.
“In Northern Mindanao, we have local suppliers and our ham production capabilities is not solely dependent on Luzon-based processed meats,” she said.