THE Mandaue City Government will no longer implement strict border controls across Cebu as part of its measures to protect the city against African swine fever (ASF) infection.
August Lizer Malate, executive secretary of Mayor Jonas Cortes and head of the city’s Business Permit and Licensing Office, said Thursday, March 23, 2023, the move is to show support for the Cebu Provincial Government’s focus on mitigation, surveillance, monitoring and isolation of hogs in battling the highly contagious disease.
Last Tuesday, March 21, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia lifted all controls on the movement of hogs across the Province of Cebu, despite the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry confirming that ASF had been detected in Cebu City, Sibonga, Liloan, Tuburan and Bogo City, in addition to Carcar City.
Earlier that day, the Mandaue City Police Office said it had laid out a plan to put at least 12 areas in Cebu under strict border control in case the city government would order this.
Among the places considered for border control were Upper and Lower Tawason, Panagdait, Innodata, Banilad, Cabancalan, Lapu-Lapu City, Cansaga, Jagobiao, the first Mactan-Mandaue Bridge, Marcelo Fernan Bridge and Talamban.
With the latest word from City Hall, this will no longer be implemented.
Malate said they would also amend Executive Order (EO) 13 issued by Cortes last March 8 imposing a 30-day ban on pork and pork products from red (infected) and pink (buffer) zones—so as to adapt to the new policy of Cebu Province.
Malate said they would release a new EO once the City Veterinary Office presents its recommendations.
He said Cortes expressed support for Garcia’s “One Cebu” policy in battling ASF just like he did in the fight against coronavirus disease.
Malate said they would still implement the strict checking of permits and clearances from hog suppliers. At the same time, the City will also look for reports from the national government, to adopt some of the policies but will prioritize the situation on the ground.
“We should look into the policy, kay kita man sad ana naa sa ground. Kita may nakasabot unsay maayo sa mga testing, sa mga assumption, scientific outputs,” said Malate.
(We should look into the policy because we are also the ones on the ground. We are the ones who understand what is good about testing, assumption and scientific outputs.)
City Councilor Oscar del Castillo Jr., the committee on market and abattoir chairman, said they plan to formulate an ordinance to give the city’s hog farmers a cash allowance should ASF infect pigs in Mandaue.
Last March 13, Garcia questioned whether the disease infecting several pigs in Carcar City was really ASF or just the Classical swine fever (CSF), also known as hog cholera, as she questioned the testing method used by the DA in Central Visayas (DA 7) to come up with its findings.
On the same day, Garcia ordered a stop to the culling of pigs within the 500-meter radius of the infected areas in Carcar City, which was the protocol of the DA under the National ASF Prevention and Control Program to deal with the disease.
Last Tuesday, DA 7 Director Angel Enriquez, who assumed the position earlier this month, expressed support for Garcia’s call to reconsider and reevaluate the national government’s ASF protocols.
This, after Garcia reminded national government officials that under the Local Government Code, they are required to consult with LGUs in planning and implementing national programs.