AS THE bid to protect the P6-billion swine industry of the province continues, the Provincial African Swine Fever (ASF) Task Force of Negros Occidental has already seized almost P5.6 million worth of incoming pork and pork products from areas hit by the dreaded disease affecting swine.

Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena, also the co-chair of the task force, said a total of 32.641 tons of assorted pork products were intercepted from January 1 to December 27 this year.

Decena, in a report to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, said these products were seized during the conduct of inspections at the airport, seaports and other borders.

"For the past week alone, a total of P43,700 worth of pork and pork-related products were apprehended from hand-carried, checked-in baggage and cargo trucks arriving at the Bacolod-Silay Airport and seaports at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (Bredco) in Bacolod City and Escalante City," he added.

The provincial veterinarian further reported to the governor, who is the chair of the Provincial ASF Task Force, that measures against the possible entry of the ASF-contaminated products were intensified during this holiday season.

Decena said from December 21 to 27, the quarantine team has inspected a total of 4,214 incoming vehicles and refrigerated container vans at different points of entry in the province.

All products allowed to enter Negros Occidental were properly inspected and found to have complete documents, Decena said.

Also, the task force has conducted inspection and monitoring of supermarkets, grocery stores and online sellers of frozen meat products last week.

A total of 57 establishments were inspected to ensure compliance with the ASF Prevention Ordinance of Negros Occidental.

Under the ordinance, transport or sale of pork products from Luzon and other ASF-hit areas to the province is prohibited.

"With the assistance of the Provincial Legal Office, the task force also inspected an online seller based in Bacolod City who is actively selling assorted processed meat products in the province," he added.

Earlier, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas said it is stepping up the efforts on maintaining the P20-billion swine industry of the region free from ASF as the demand for pork products rises during Christmas and New Year.

DA-Western Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter said they have been enjoining the people in the region to refrain from online buying of pork and pork products.

"We are not sure where these pork products are coming from. Pasalubongs are good but bring in cash instead of ham, tocino and longganisa from Luzon and Mindanao areas affected by ASF," she added.