THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged all local government units (LGUs) to ensure that their executive orders (EOs) imposing a ban on the entry of live hogs and other related products are aligned and consistent with national policies and directives.
In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said they have monitored LGUs that have been issuing EOs restricting or limiting the entry of pigs, hogs and related items to protect against the spread of the African swine fever (ASF), but this must not impede the flow of cargoes across LGU boundaries.
He said LGUs must coordinate their actions with the Department of Agriculture (DA) field offices regarding the ASF zoning classification system.
Under the DA’s zoning plan, there are two ASF zone classifications: Containment Zone, where concerted activities are implemented to contain ASF and isolate the ASF disease towards full eradication; and Free Zone (Dark Green), which is the geographical limit that remains free from the ASF virus.
Included in the Containment Zone are the Infected Zone (Red), which includes provinces with confirmed ASF cases; Surveillance Zone (Yellow), which includes provinces that are high-risk areas because of the dense population of swine and volume of trade of pigs, pork, and pork products; Buffer Zone (Pink), which includes cities and towns of the National Capital Region and those which are adjacent to the infected zones, as well as ASF-free localities in an infected province; and Protected Zone (Light Green), which includes regions/provinces with no ASF cases but are contiguous with the yellow zone in terms of landmass.
Last week, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued an EO imposing a six-month ban on the export of live pigs to protect Cebu’s P11 billion hog industry against ASF.
In a recent memorandum circular, DILG officer-in-charge Bernardo Florece Jr. urged LGUs to conduct an immediate review of their EOs and align their objectives, without delay, with presidential and national issuances on the prevention and control of ASF.
Florece said LGUs must strictly follow the nationwide policy on the unhampered flow of cargo stipulated in Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution 14 and Presidential Administrative Order 22, series of 2020 to mitigate the ASF threat amid the pandemic.
Section C of IATF Resolution 14 provides for unimpeded movement of all types of food and non-food cargo during the enhanced community quarantine to avoid any threat of shortages of food staples, subject to the presentation of relevant documents.
Florece said failure to comply with these directives would lead to reprimand and/or issuance of show cause orders. Repeated breaches of these directives may lead to appropriate charges being brought against the local chief executive.
But for DA officials in Central Visayas, Garcia’s move to ban hog exports from Cebu could protect the region from a supply shortage. (See related story in Business.) (JKV, JOB, PR)