ONLY 28 of the 53 local government units (LGU) in Cebu have issued or approved local measures against the African swine fever (ASF).
The matter was raised during the Provincial ASF Task Force meeting on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, after several regions surrounding Central Visayas had lifted their ban on live hogs and pork products from Luzon.
During the meeting, Provincial Veterinarian Mary Rose Vincoy said their recent tally revealed that only 23 towns and five cities, including Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, have issued executive orders (EO) on ASF.
These include component cities Toledo and Naga and the highly urbanized city of Mandaue.
Towns that issued their EOs on ASF include Aloguinsan, Argao, Asturias, Balamban, Bantayan, Boljoon, Carmen, Catmon, Compostela, Cordova, Daanbantayan, Dalaguete, Ginatilan, Liloan, Medellin, Oslob, Pilar, Santander, Sibonga, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Tuburan and Tudela.
Disappointed by the development, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia reiterated the need to have everyone’s cooperation to protect the P11-billion local hog industry.
“Big businesses are not going bankrupt, right? The hardest part here is if our backyard farmers will lose their source of income. If ASF infects Cebu, it will kill the four pigs they’ve been raising to cover house expenses and school fees,” Garcia said in Cebuano.
There are 12 ports in Cebu that have links to Eastern Visayas.
Easter Visayas’ closest link to Cebu is the Municipality of Pilar in Camotes Island, which is only 15 to 20 minutes by boat from Ormoc City, Leyte.
The governor issued last Nov. 6 EO 23, which declares as unlawful the transport to Cebu Province of any and all kinds of meat (chicken, beef or fish) and any kind of food product that has been stored in the same cold storage facility as pork, pork-related products and byproducts sourced from Luzon.
Garcia also extended the ban on shipment of live hogs, pork, pork-related products, by-products and boar semen from Luzon to June 30, 2020, instead of Dec. 28, 2019.
On Sept. 16, 2019, the Provincial Board passed an ordinance imposing a minimum of P5,000 as penalty and jail term of up to six years for persons who smuggle pork and pork-related products to Cebu province from areas affected by the ASF.
But for Garcia, these measures can only do so much unless there is a province-wide effort to prevent the entry of ASF.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cebu Director Jerome Gonzales, for his part, assured the task force that they will send out reminders to the 25 LGUs to issue an EO on ASF immediately, especially for towns and cities facing Region 8.
“The DILG Cebu supports this mandate for Cebu to protect its borders against the ASF. We will focus on LGUs facing Leyte-Samar area, especially cities of Bogo, Danao and towns of San Francisco and Poro,” Gonzales said in a mix of English and Cebuano.
He said they will issue the reminder on Monday, Dec. 9, to LGUs that have yet to enforce measures against ASF within their territorial jurisdiction.
As of Dec. 6, cities that have yet to issue an EO on ASF include Bogo, Carcar, Danao and Talisay.
Component towns that were also reminded to implement measures against the deadly hog disease include Alcantara, Alcoy, Alegria, Badian, Barili, Borbon, Consolacion, Dumanjug, Madridejos, Malabuyoc, Minglanilla, Moalboal, Pinamungajan, Poro, Ronda, Samboan, San Fernando, San Francisco, San Remigio, Santa Fe and Sogod. (RTF)