Cebu News

Or else, capitol to withdraw funds for hog raisers: Stop feeding pigs ‘lamaw’

Robhe Jane C. Yara - The Freeman
Or else, capitol to withdraw funds for hog raisers: Stop feeding pigs �lamaw�
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan inspects a piggery in Barangay Pajac amid the rising threat of African Swine Fever following the discovery of ASF in Cebu province. Chan issued an executive order temporarily banning the entry of swine and pork products fromCarcar City and Negros Island due to the ASF.
Joy Torrejos

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has threatened to withdraw funds from Capitol's Enhanced Countryside Development (ECD) Program for backyard hog raisers in Cebu province if it is found that they continue the practice of swill or “lamaw” feeding for their pigs.

This is still part of the measures to contain the threat of the African Swine Fever (ASF) disease in Cebu after the same was confirmed among pigs in Carcar City.

In a press conference Tuesday, March 8, Garcia urged all hog raisers, particularly the backyard hog raisers, to avoid feeding their pigs of swill or "lamaw" in the local Cebuano language, emphasizing they will strengthen its prohibition.

The governor had already issued at least two executive orders: Executive Order (EO) 9 implementing a temporary ban on live hogs and other pork-related products from Negros Island and EO 9-B from Carcar City after traces of the ASF virus were collected from pigs in Carcar City that allegedly (co-)mingled with other pigs from Negros while kept in stockyards.

Garcia narrated how the possible spread of ASF in the country came from swill feeds acquired through airports which could have come from ASF-infected countries and delivered to local hog farmers to feed their pigs.

"ASF started when these products gikan sa kanang mga leftover foods in the airlines, international flights and apparently ang ilang mga gi-serve gikan sa mga ASF-infected countries gikuha na gihimong lamaw, didto nagsugod na," said Garcia.

Garcia said the threat of swill feeding does not come from hog farms since the latter apply safety measures in doing so and are feeding their pigs with hog pellets.

The governor warned backyard hog raisers to stop swill feeding for now, or the Capitol will stop giving ECD funds.

"Do not force me now to stop providing ECD funds for backyard hog raising if this will not be followed," said Garcia.

"Mura ra nag inyong gipusil inyong kaugalingong baboy (feeding swill). I cannot say it better than that. Mura rana ninyog gihiloan inyong kaugalingong baboy. Naglaom man kaha mong modako pa na unya manganak pa gyud na, mokita pa mo'g kwarta ana para ipaeskwela sa inyong mga anak?" the governor added.

Launched in March 2021, the ECD program targets farmers and fisherfolk giving  them opportunities to bring their livelihoods back and expand their businesses further with the Capitol providing funds for their needed capital.

Under the program, the province will also serve as a middleman and connect the farmers and fisherfolk to companies that will buy their products and harvests at an assured price.

Garcia inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with three government banks in 2021 for its implementation.

Following the ASF threat, Garcia said she would task municipal mayors to instruct their barangay animal health aides (BAHA) and municipal vets to strictly monitor backyard hogs within their areas.

She also encouraged all local government units (LGUs) in Cebu to work together and give timely updates on the disease's spread instead of hiding the problem to spare the fear of turning it into a new epidemic.

Cebu City claims to be ASF-free

Cebu City government, meanwhile, assured that the city remains ASF-free amid the inclusion of the banning of live hogs and pork and other pork-related products from this city by the province of Bohol.

City veterinarian Dr. Jessica Maribojoc, in an interview with The Freeman yesterday, said they understand Bohol’s move saying they are just very careful since Cebu City is in Cebu Island where Carcar is also located and a gateway to other LGUs.

Bohol Governor Aristotle Aumentado has issued Executive Order No.11 which prohibits the entry of live pigs, pork, pork products, and frozen semen from the island province of Cebu and Cebu City to the province of Bohol.

Maribojoc said even the Cebu City government is also very cautious about the areas that are positive with ASF.

Along with this, the city government also announced yesterday the reactivation of its border controls, effective yesterday, to prolong they are being ASF-free.

Based on a meeting with local suppliers, Maribijoc said they can still supply Cebu City residents for at least two months.

With this, they are asking hog raisers/farmers to prioritize the Cebu City residents.

 Aside from Bohol, Bacolod City and the province of Negros Occidental also issued a joint executive order which also prohibits the entry of all pigs and pork products from Cebu Province.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, in his Executive Order No. 2023-017 issued on March 7, 2022, also temporarily banned the entry of live hogs, sows, piglets, boar semen, swine genetic materials, pork and raw pork-related products (fresh/frozen pork products and uncooked processed pork products) originating from Carcar City and Negros Island for a period of 30 days from the date of the issuance of the said EO.

‘Don’t Panic’

Meanwhile, the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative (CeViPPCo) and fellow hog farmers in Cebu expressed deep sadness over the reported case of ASF among pigs slaughtered in Carcar City.

In their joint statement, Jonathan Young, the CeViPPCo president, and Rolando Tambago, the chairman of CeViPPCo, urged fellow hog producers in Cebu to implement strict biosecurity measures in their farms and not to panic.

Both said that experience has shown that following the biosecurity guidelines and taking prompt action can contain the ASF outbreak.

 “We would like to inform the consuming public that this disease does not affect humans as it is not Zoonotic. So, it is safe to eat local pork,” part of their statement read.

“We hope that the measures taken by the Cebu Provincial Government through its Provincial Veterinary Office and the LGU concerned will prevent its spread as they appreciate their continued efforts in protecting hog producers in Cebu,” it added.

 As a precautionary measure, the CeViPPCo is continuously working closely with the Cebu Provincial Government and the Carcar City LGU to monitor the entire province and taking necessary steps to prevent further spread of the disease.

“We urge fellow hog producers in Cebu to implement strict biosecurity measures in their farms and not to panic,” they said, adding checkpoints have been set up to control movements of hogs and pork product to/from Carcar City.

 They further said that continued disease surveillance with blood sampling for laboratory test is being done and supplemented with Information and education campaign. – Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon and Caecent N. Magsumbol, JMD (FREEMAN)

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