PORK from Negros Island has again been banned from the Province of Cebu.
Citing the detection of African swine fever (ASF) in Negros in the past weeks, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order 13 on May 26, 2023, imposing another “temporary ban” on the entry of live hogs, sows, piglets, boar semen, and pork and pork-related products from Negros Island for 60 days or until July 25, 2023.
Confirmed cases of ASF had been discovered in Negros Oriental in the towns of Dauin last May 20, and Sibulan on May 25.
The governor also took into consideration the pig mortalities recorded in seven local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental, which she said could possibly have been caused by either Classical swine fever (hog cholera) or ASF.
Last May 26, Bacolod City also logged two positive cases of the viral hog disease that was still up for confirmatory testing by the Bureau of Animal Industry in the National Capital Region.
Garcia first issued a 30-day ban on pigs and pork-related products from Negros Island this year through EO 9 last March 6, after tests conducted by the Bureau of Animal Industry-Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory confirmed the detection of ASF viral DNA in a pig in Carcar City on March 1 that was said to have come from Negros Island.
Through EO 11 last April 4, she extended the ban on the entry of live hogs, sows, piglets, boar semen, pork meat, and byproducts from Negros Island to Cebu by 15 days until April 20.
The temporary ban will again affect the operations of the lechoneros in the province, particularly their supply of live hogs for slaughter for lechon baboy or roasted pig.
Cebu’s lechon is famous around the country for its unique crispy crust with the combination of herbs and spices used in marinating the meat before roasting.
Joven Basco, a lechonero from Talisay City, told SunStar Cebu Monday, May 29, that their business has been significantly affected since ASF was detected in Cebu last March.
The ban on pork from Negros has limited the supply of the live hogs for lechon baboy.
Basco said he and his fellow lechoneros normally got their supply from Negros Island since it was cheaper and abundant there.
“Looking for the live hogs in Cebu has been difficult for us lately. It takes time to search for an area with enough supply of swine, in comparison to the supply coming from Negros that was always available,” Basco said.
There were times when they were forced to buy live hogs at high prices, especially when they had already received orders.
“It was not the same with Negros. Their hogs were much cheaper at a P1,000 to P2,000 difference,” Basco said. “We can also choose the quality of the hogs such as native pigs.”
However, Jonathan Young, president of the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative, told SunStar Cebu last Wednesday that Cebu Province has enough supply of live hogs, with the province even selling pork meat to other provinces and regions.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, Central Visayas was the second largest producer of swine with 1.13 million heads for the January to March 2023 period, accounting for 11 percent of the country’s swine inventory of 10.18 million heads. Central Visayas comprises Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental provinces.