Pigs, pork products from Eastern Visayas ‘not allowed’ to enter Cebu City

·3 min read

CEBU City has banned the entry of pigs and other pork-based products from Eastern Visayas, which has reported an outbreak of the African swine fever (ASF), starting Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.

In his Executive Order (EO) 118, Mayor Edgardo Labella said the ban is necessary to ensure that the city’s pork supply remains free from ASF.

“I am also calling our seaport officials, the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) and Market Operation Division to strictly enforce the regulation in order to protect our city against the ASF,” Labella said.

Dr. Jennifer Laurente, who heads DVMF, will lead the implementation of Labella’s order.

The mayor, though, clarified that pork and other pork-based products from areas in the Visayas where the ASF has not been detected can still enter the city.

Pork and pork-based products from ASF-affected areas that are caught will be immediately confiscated and destroyed, Labella said.

Last week, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued an EO imposing a six-month moratorium on the export of live hogs to protect Cebu’s P11 billion hog industry against the highly contagious disease that kills pigs.

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Garcia clarified that the ban applies only to live hogs and not to pork products from the province.

“We are not allowing the sale of Cebu’s pigs outside the province. Most of the pigs in areas affected by the ASF in Luzon are almost gone. That’s why many of them come here to buy our pigs,” she said in Cebuano.

Garcia said her measures are aimed at protecting Cebu’s pork supply.

“We are cutting off the transport of live hogs because this is the measure by which we can curtail or stop the recent spike in pork prices. There’s already a pig shortage in Siquijor,” she said in Cebuano.

The governor said there is a need to make preemptive and proactive moves to protect the livelihood of local hog farmers and the hog industry.

Meanwhile, Garcia said the Capitol has not violated the national government’s ASF Zoning Plan.

“I will protect Cebu. There is nothing in the ASF zoning plan that I violated. Let me remind you that when I saw the risk posed by the disease to our local hog industry, I was told I was overreacting. They said they had the ASF situation in Luzon under control, but there are hardly any pigs there now,” Garcia said in Cebuano.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) had urged local government units (LGUs) to ensure that their executive orders imposing a ban on the entry of live hogs and other related products were 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 ASF, but this must not impede the flow of cargoes across LGU boundaries. (PAC, ANV / JKV)