BAGUIO

Agencies assure enough pork supply in Cordillera for the holidays



GOVERNMENT agencies in the Cordillera Administration Region allayed fears of consumers that there will not be enough pork supply for the holidays, stressing that supply of pork and its byproducts remain stable.

Cameron Odsey, Department of Agriculture Cordillera executive director, assured consumers of enough supply and stable pork prices for the holiday season.

"There is no problem with the supply, enough to meet the demands of the buyers. The problem is the demand because of public, the public gusto munang umiwas," Odsey said, adding consumers are shying away from pork products due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) scare in several parts of the country.

Odsey said regular and 24/7 checkpoints are also made in the different entry points in the Cordillera to prevent the entry of ASF.

In the region, the Provincial Government of Abra and Mountain Province have imposed ban on the entry of all swine and pork products, while Benguet issued a temporary ban to ensure food safety and livestock security against the virus.

Doctor Miriam Tiongan, Benguet provincial veterinarian, also said there is an ample supply of live pigs in the province.

"There are also pigs locally sold. Our ultimate goal is for ASF not to enter Benguet," she added.

Benguet usually import pigs from nearby provinces in the Luzon but Tiongan said there is a limited delivery due to the enforcement of "1-7-10 Protocol" to control the virus.

The protocol is comprised of quarantine checkpoints set up in areas within a one kilometer radius of suspected farms and monitors the movement of live pigs, pork, and pork products.

Doctor Karl Kigis, regional ASF coordinator, earlier said the region remains free from ASF, while there are no monitored and alarming deaths as surveillance continues among provinces, citing Benguet as one of the main gateways to the region.

Kigis said there are total of 260,000 pigs in Cordillera with the provinces of Kalinga, Abra and Benguet having the most population.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Cordillera, meanwhile, said no other processed meat pork products were pulled out in the region aside from Mekini.

Joel Art Tibaldo, DTI-Cordillera public information officer, said based on their initial rounds of grocery stores in Baguio City and other parts of the region, no other processed meat products were pulled out.

"So far, here in our region, there are no reports of any private meat processing company that have been temporarily closed for ASF contamination. The Department of Agriculture and the National Meat Inspection Service continue to do monitoring activities regarding the ASF and so far, we have yet to receive a report of any meat processing company which maybe temporarily closed," Tibaldo said.

DTI-Cordillera started its weekly inspections of groceries selling pork-based ham to ensure the absence of contamination from ASF based on the guidelines issued by the National Government to make sure these products are safe for human consumption.

"On ham products, there is abundant stocks that we have seen in the shelves of grocery stores and at present, there is still a good volume of supply of the said products, and no other products were also pulled out from their showcase shelves," Tibaldo said.

For raw meat products sold in the market, DTI reminded sellers to follow the existing requirement and guidelines for the selling of raw meat products and slaughterhouses for them to post their NMIS certification and accreditation.

DTI is the agency tasked to monitor processed products, while market-based pork products is being monitored by the NMIS of the Department of Agriculture and the local government units.


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