TO AVOID transporting pork and its by-products in the province, Negros Occidental Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Placeda Lemana has urged authorities in Iloilo to help in the information dissemination about African Swine Fever (ASF) among the residents.

"This will help protect the swine industry and maintain the province's status as ASF-free," Lemana said.

Five localities in Iloilo province are now infected with ASF.

"They said they wanted the province to maintain the status as ASF-free so that they will source here their breeders when the disease is already over in their respective areas," Lemana said referring to her meeting with other veterinary officials in Western Visayas.

Lemana also noted that from November 7 to 13, 2022, a total of 422.55 kilograms of pork and other pork by-products were confiscated at the Bredco and Banago Ports in Bacolod City and at the Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City.

Most of the apprehended pork products were from Iloilo, mostly left over on tabs (ba-on) brought by travelers.

The products included chorizo, siopao, tapa, tocino, adobo, longanisa and ham, Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) records showed.

The confiscated items are valued at P167,671, it added.

Iloilo has not imposed any ban on bringing pork and by-products outside their province, Lemana said.

She, meanwhile, said that penalties may soon be slapped against those transporting pork from ASF-infected areas to the province.

Lemana said the existing ordinance in Bacolod City will be applied on confiscations done at Bredco and Banago Ports while the provincial ordinance will be applied at the Bacolod-Silay Airport.

The provincial ordinance imposes imprisonment depending on the volume while the city ordinance provides the penalty of P2,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense and P5,000 for the third offense.

Bacolod City and Negros Occidental have earlier formed a joint ASF Task Force to focus on implementing measures to safeguard the province’s P6-billion swine industry.*