Cebu, Bohol to defy order lifting processed meat ban
Louise Maureen Simeon, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Cebu and Bohol will defy the order of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for local government units (LGUs) to lift the ban

on processed meat, which was imposed as a precautionary measure against African swine fever (ASF).

“I hope people will understand that under the general welfare clause of our laws and my powers under the Local Government Code, I am duty bound to protect my constituents from harm and damage to life and property,” Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap said.

“No need to be emotional, get personal or be sensitive about the matter. Let us understand our constraints and help mitigate fears with actual solutions and stay clear from finger-pointing and name-calling,” Yap added.

In a memorandum issued on Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said LGUs should allow the entry of processed meat with certification from the Food and Drug Administration.

The memo was issued after the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMI) said its members would suffer up to P50 billion in losses due to the ban. The group assured the public that its products are safe for human consumption.

“While lifting the restriction will help reduce our losses, the much greater benefit will be for our people, who are assured of continued supply of affordable and protein-filled nutritious products,” PAMI said in a letter to Año.

Guarantee letter

Yap said he would open up Bohol to processed meat from Luzon only if the Department of Agriculture (DA) would issue a guarantee letter that it would give compensation for culling and disposal of ASF-hit hogs, and “if my backyard raisers are compensated properly immediately upon proof of damage if and when ASF gets to Bohol.”

Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia said the ban in her province would remain.

Garcia ordered the ban on the entry of live hogs from Luzon as well as processed meat, frozen pork and related products from Rizal and Bulacan for 100 days under Executive Order 14 she issued on Sept. 10.

“We weighed all considerations... to protect our swine industry... we also have to weigh it against the interest of other industries,” Garcia had said.

Not backing down

The DILG said it is not backing down on its order despite concerns from agriculture stakeholders and LGUs.

“The government has been acting agressively and effectively to address the ASF outbreak. We are urging all LGUs to lift  the ban... for as long as certain products meet the conditions imposed by the DA,” Año said.

Lockdown

Meanwhile, the Bulacan provincial veterinary office said it has yet to receive a memo on the imposition of lockdown procedures to prevent the spread of ASF.

This means the movement of live hogs is prohibited unless there is a valid transport permit and blood test clearance from the Bureau of Animal Industry and National Meat Inspection Services.

Provincial veterinarian Voltaire Basinang said the swine industry has a “compartmentalized approach” against ASF.

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER DILG
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