Eastern Visayas pork products banned

PORK products and by-products from Eastern Visayas are now banned from entering Cebu Province until June 30, 2020, as part of the Capitol’s intensified measures against the African swine fever (ASF).

On Friday, December 13, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order (EO) 27, which prohibits the entry into the province of pork, boar semen, pork-related products and by-products from Eastern Visayas.

It also bans the bringing into Cebu Province of any and all kinds of meat (chicken, beef or fish) and any kind of food product that has been stored in the same cold storage facility as pork, pork-related products and by-products sourced from Eastern Visayas.

Likewise, airlines and shipping lines from the region are also required to present their cargo manifest to the veterinary quarantine officer.

The governor’s move came as several regions surrounding Central Visayas have already lifted their ban on pork products from Luzon.

Earlier this month, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) received reports about Eastern Visayas’ lifting of its ban on pork and pork-related products pursuant to the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s order, which instructed local officials to lift the ban they had imposed on processed meat products containing pork amid the outbreak of ASF in some parts of Luzon.

This development had drawn concern from members of the Capitol’s anti-ASF task force since there are 12 ports in Cebu that have links to Eastern Visayas. The region’s closest link to Cebu is the Municipality of Pilar in Camotes Island, which is only 15 to 20 minutes by boat from Ormoc City, Leyte.

In an earlier interview, Provincial Veterinarian Mary Rose Vincoy stressed the need to strengthen Cebu’s control of its ports since there is no assurance yet that hogs from Manila would not pass the port of Matnog (Sorsogon) and then enter the port of Allen (Northern Samar).

“Despite the measures taken by the Provincial Government in preventing the entry of the ASF virus into the Province of Cebu, there is still a prominent risk of the virus’ entry into the Province where contaminated pork, pork products, byproducts and commingled food products from Luzon can be detoured thru Region 8, for purposes of entering the Province of Cebu, that allow the entry thereof,” reads a portion of EO 27.

In a related development, a Japanese cement manufacturing company has offered to incinerate for free all the pork-related products confiscated by the task force.

Garcia said Taiheiyo Philippines president Kazuhiko Ichikawa had informed her that they have been extending the same services to local government units in Japan.

“They are willing to accommodate the destruction of confiscated pork products. That’s what’s good about being able to reach out for help and help is given,” she added.

A report from the PVO revealed that the task force was also able to subject to thermal destruction 5,244.42 kilos of pork products from separate operations from September until November 2019.

Vincoy said the firm in Barangay Umapad, Mandaue City charges P15 per kilo for every thermal destruction and having Taiheiyo’s offer would help the Province save its resources. (RTF)