AFTER the Cebu City Government partially lifted the pork ban from select areas in Mindanao, Cebu pork and pork related products may no longer be allowed to enter Bohol.

This as hog raisers in Bohol raised their concerns over the potential risk the lifting of the ban may bring to the hog industries in Central Visayas, particularly in Bohol.

“We are worried. Cebu hogs now have big risk of being infected with the African swine fever (ASF) due to the lifting of the ban on pigs from General Santos and South Cotabato. Bohol hog producers are worried that it might put our livestock also at risk. To remove the risk, we are considering banning Cebu pork and pork products to enter Bohol island,” Ferdinand Cuyno, one of Bohol’s hog raisers, said in a statement.

Cuyno said Bohol Provincial veterinarian Stella Lapis is also worried about this new development as Bohol is sourcing a lot of its pork and pork-related product requirements from Cebu. These include all processed food like hotdogs and chorizos.

He said if Bohol will put a break on importing pork and pork-related products from Cebu, Cebu’s meat manufacturing industries will also be affected.

With Bohol potential imposing a ban soon, other provinces in the region may also follow suit including Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Iloilo City and more.

The Department of Agriculture (DA)-Davao Region confirmed Mindanao’s first case of ASF in February this year, which killed more than 1,000 pigs in a remote coastal town of Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental.

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella on Feb 13, signed Executive Order (EO) 44, banning the entry of live hogs, pork products and byproducts from Mindanao to Cebu City for a period of 60 days.

Two months after, Labella issued EO 072, on April 28, 2020, lifting the ban on live hogs, pork, and pork by-products subject to DA’s guidelines and additional requirements.

“The City of Cebu sees the need to partially lift the ban and allow producers and suppliers from dark green zones or free zones identified by the DA and provided under DA Administrative Circular 12, series of 2019, to continue supplying live hogs, and pork products and byproducts into the City in order to prevent any shortage in supply,” the EO stated.

Dark green zones or free zones, according to DA, are ASF-free areas.

Southern Leyte Gov. Damian Mercado, on the other hand, also issued EO 26, on April 30, allowing the entry and pass-through of ASF-free hogs, pork, pork by-products via Liloan Port.

“We commend Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and Southern Leyte Gov. Damian Mercado for issuing respective executive orders, lifting the ban on hogs, pork, and pork by-products from Mindanao, and allowing these to be traded, processed and consumed, benefiting their constituents and processors alike,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, in a statement.

Live hogs and pork bans were initially imposed against ASF-affected areas in the country in an effort to protect Central Visayas’ P11 billion pork industry.

To help stabilize the supply and prices of pork in Metro Manila and other areas in Luzon, the DA, earlier said it is coordinating with hog raisers in Mindanao to bring their surplus pork products to Visayas and Luzon.

“We are looking at an initial volume of 1,700 metric tons (MT) of pork from Davao and General Santos City that are available for immediate transport to Visayas and Luzon,” said Dar.

Davao hog raisers commit to ship their surplus pork at 500 MT monthly, while those in General Santos and Cagayan de Oro could ship 3,000 MT monthly. (with PR)