Trucks from ASF-hit areas ‘not allowed near Cebu’

·2 min read

ONLY trucks accredited by the Cebu Provincial Government will be able to transport live pigs from the province to other parts of the country at the drop-off point in Matnog Port in Sorsogon.

There, their partners can pick up the pigs and deliver them to their final destination.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia will issue an executive order to this effect to ensure that Cebu’s P11 billion hog industry will be protected from the ongoing threat of the highly contagious and very deadly African swine fever (ASF) that has resulted in the culling of thousands of pigs in affected areas.

Garcia made the announcement during a meeting with accredited truckers, hog raisers, pork producers and officials of the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.

Trucks from Luzon, Mindanao and Eastern Visayas where ASF has been reported will not be allowed near Cebu.

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

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

Garcia said they have also come up with new measures to ensure that accredited trucks from Cebu will not serve as carriers of the ASF, as the disease can easily spread through non-living contaminated objects, or fomites, like clothes, shoes and vehicles.

“Our presumption is that everything outside Cebu has been exposed to fomites. So we are just protecting the island from ASF,” the governor said in Cebuano.

Before the trucks, livestock transport carriers and reefer vans can even leave Cebu, they must undergo mandatory disinfection. They must also undergo mandatory disinfection upon their return.

Accredited truckers will be required to submit a disinfection clearance from the veterinary quarantine office of their port of origin.

They will also be required to undergo a seven-day downtime period so they can disinfect their trucks before resuming operation.

Once they’ve complied with requirements, the Province will issue a clearance to certify that the trucks underwent the process.

Accredited truckers will also be required to submit to the Province their routes before transporting their shipment, as well as secure regulatory documents, such as a veterinary health certificate and a shipping permit.

Cebu Province and the rest of Central Visayas have been on “heightened alert” since Jan. 15 after the first case of ASF was detected in Leyte in Eastern Visayas.

Dr. Mary Grace Vincoy, Cebu provincial veterinarian, said they have not lowered their guard against ASF despite the arrival of the coronavirus disease pandemic in March last year.

“We’ve set up networks in the barangays. If one barangay reports one pig death, we immediately check it out as part of our quick response to determine if it’s ASF. Our coordination is down to the barangay level,” Vincoy said in a mix of Cebuano and English. (ANV / JKV)