THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, through the Provincial African Swine Fever (ASF) Task Force, has further intensified its measures against possible entry of the dreaded disease affecting swine to the province.

Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said the task force has established round-the-clock checkpoint areas and disinfection activities to eliminate possible sources of the virus.

This is also to ensure that all pork products allowed to enter the province are properly inspected and have complete regulatory documents, Decena, also the co-chair of the task force, said.

“The task force is relentless on enforcing Provincial ASF Prevention Ordinance No. 2019-024 through one, continuous enforcement and conduct of checkpoints and inspections among incoming vehicles and refrigerated container vans at different ports of entry in the province,” he said.

The strict monitoring of supermarkets, grocery stores, online sellers of frozen meat products has paved the way for the province to remain free from ASF, the provincial veterinarian added.

On January 15, the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed an ASF case in Abuyog town in Leyte, the first in the Visayas.

This prompted Negros Occidental to impose a ban on live pigs and pork coming from Eastern Samar.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, in a memorandum order, said the ban also covers boar semen, pork products and other pork-related food items from the nearby Region 8 including the provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar.

Under the Provincial ASF Prevention Ordinance, other areas may be covered once affected by ASF.

It can be recalled that since 2019, the province has been banning the entry of pork and pork products coming from areas in Luzon and Mindanao with confirmed ASF cases.

Lacson said the incidence of ASF in Eastern Samar posed a threat to the province being one of the major producers and gateway of live pigs being supplied to Luzon, Central and Eastern Visayas.

He directed all local chief executives, as well as members of the task force to ensure the implementation of preventive and safeguard measures to protect the P6-billion swine industry of the province.

Decena reiterated that as part of the implementation of the ordinance to control the spread of the disease, incoming pork products confiscated at the airport and seaports are immediately disposed of either by incineration or burying.

This is in accordance with Republic Act 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000” and Presidential Decree 856 or the “Code on Sanitation of the Philippines” and other pertinent laws, rules and regulations and issuances.

Decena said incinerators are being provided by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) in all ports of entry in the province.

In 2020, about 5,213.28 kilograms of assorted pork products were incinerated.

PVO records showed that from January to December 2020, a total of 32.65 tons of assorted pork products have been seized in seaports, airport and checkpoint areas.

The estimated market value for these items reached P5.56 million.

On record, the task force has inspected 244 establishments and 131,749 vehicles and refrigerated container vans in compliance with the ASF Prevention Ordinance, he added.