Cebu Province bans pork products from Luzon
Lorraine Ecarma (The Freeman) - September 19, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu provincial government has declared a total ban of pork and pork-related products from all of Luzon.

Governor Gwen Garcia was set to sign yesterday a new Executive Order banning frozen and processed pork and pork-related from all areas of Luzon. Executive Order 15, which she issued earlier, only bans products from Rizal and Bulacan, which have bene affected by the African Swine Fever.

EO 15 also bans live hogs and boar semen from all areas of Luzon.

In an emergency meeting last September 16, the Provincial Anti-ASF Task Force decided to implement a total ban on all pork products from Luzon to ensure that ASF will not breach the province.

"We are enforcing very, very strict measures because we cannot be too careful as far as the ASF virus is concerned," Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said.

"There's really a clear and present danger already after the Bureau of Animal Industry Director Domingo confirmed that there is already an ASF outbreak in the country," she added.

She emphasized that while ASF does not harm humans being exclusive to swine, its entrance in the province can lead to huge economic loss.

"If one pig is afflicted with the virus, it would mean one hundred percent mortality for the entire stock for two to 10 days. Highly contagious and highly toxic na virus," she said.

She said multiple industries will be left vulnerable by an ASF breach, including the tourism industry.

The ban has been set for an indefinite number of days.

In an added effort to protect the province from ASF, the Task Force also asked the Hotel, Resorts and Restaurants Association (HRRA) to submit an inventory of their pork and pork-related products.

As of midday yesterday, only three members have submitted their inventories. The deadline was 5 p.m. yesterday.

Garcia also reminded HRRA to dispose of their food wastes properly. This is through incidenation or hurrying the wastes.

At present, they have discovered that their method of disposing of the food wastes is through selling it to howlers.

"Wala pa nahibaw-i if ila ning gibaligya isip pasaw," Garcia said.

She is also set to meet with howlers to make sure that food wastes will not be used for swill.

Cebu City

Meanwhile, a group of vendors at the Carbon Public Market in Barangay Ermita, Cebu City said its members are experiencing a 15 percent drop of their usual sale of pork and meat products because of the issue on African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.

Erwin Gok-ong, chairman of the Cebu Market Vendors and Development Cooperative (CEMVEDCO), said he coordinated with the city’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries to initiate an awareness program to let the public know that pork and other meat products here are safe for consumption.

With this, DVMF, and CEMVEDCO held a boodle fight yesterday led by Mayor Edgardo Labella and other officials.

“Atong gihimo para mapasabot sa katawhan ang awareness sa ASF kay ang publiko karon murag nag panic sila kay dili na sila mangaon sa baboy. Nihinay ang halin namo sa Carbon,” Gok-ong told reporters.

Before the issue on ASF surfaced, he said vendors could sell more than 21 heads of pork.

With the ASF cases, he said at least 14 to 16 heads have been sold to the public.

Market Administrator Jonil Matuguina said there’s a decrease in the prices from P260 to P220 per kilo of the pork.

“Nangreklamo na gyud atong mga manindahay tungod sa kahadlok sa tao nga maapektohan sila sa ASF,” he added.

Matuguina said there will be more activities like this to let the public know that the pork and other meat products in the city are safe. JMO (FREEMAN)

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