Public urged to help combat ASF

Le Phyllis F. Antojado (The Freeman) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu provincial government is urging the public to help the entire island remains African Swine Fever-free.

“We cannot do this alone. Our provincial vet personnel cannot do this by themselves. Cebuanos are urged to help by immediately reporting to the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office by calling (032) 888-2320 local 3061,” read the Facebook post of Sugbo News, Capitol’s official news site.

Provincial veterinarian Mary Rose Vincoy said Cebuanos may report and provide information to authorities if they suspect that someone has brought into the province prohibited live hogs and pork products from ASF-infected areas.

She said they may also report to her office or their respective local government units’ ASF Task Force about swine mortalities in their areas.

ASF is a virus that only affects pigs. Those infected only have two to 10 days to live.

As for the processed pork meat, Vincoy said there were incidents of those who tried to smuggled processed meat but the city vets in Metro Cebu have already taken action.

“Naa’y gibadlong but gi actionan na sa mga city vets sa Cebu City ug Mandaue City kay under man sa ila jurisdiction,” she said.

Following the increasing number of ASF-infected provinces in the country, Cebu is strengthening further its guard against ASF to protect its P11-billion hog industry.

Cebu remains on heightened alert after the first case of the African swine fever (ASF) in the Visayas was detected in Abuyog, Leyte (Region 8) in January this year.

The heightened-alert status means stricter protocol to prevent the entry of any pork and pork-related items from outside the region and the stringent disinfection in slaughterhouses and in the transport process.

Central Visayas (Region 7), which is composed of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor provinces, remains free of any documented cases of ASF. Cebu is the country’s fourth-largest producer of pork products.

The four are among the over 30 provinces in the country considered as “free zone” from ASF as of April 19, 2021.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an indefinite ban on the entry of pork and other pork-related products to Cebu from areas affected by ASF since February 2020.

In December last year, she said the ban would continue in 2021.

On Jan. 29, 2021, the provincial government ordered a moratorium on the export of live hogs.

Garcia issued Executive Order (EO) 8 prohibiting live hogs from being sold outside Cebu province for six months to help stabilize the market for pork supply and to protect Cebu’s livestock industry from the ravages of ASF, which has affected parts of Luzon, Mindanao and Eastern Visayas.

The EO took effect on February 1. — KQD (FREEMAN)

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