Group asks Mayor Sara to sustain ban on pigs, pork products due to ASF

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 October) — The Hog Farmers of Davao, Inc. (Hog FADI) has asked City Mayor Sara Duterte to sustain her Executive Order banning the entry of live pigs and pork products in Davao City after Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged local government units in Visayas and Mindanao to lift the temporary ban on pork products.

Speaking on behalf of Hog FADI, Alvin Teves, said lifting the temporary ban would endanger the local hog industry as the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to affect some parts of Luzon.

The City Government of Davao has temporarily banned the entry of live pigs and pork products following the outbreak of the dreaded AFS in some areas in Luzon, 16 days after the Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the disease in the country.

In an executive order issued last month, the mayor said the temporary ban “applies to all live pigs, pork and pork-related products and by-products, whether fresh, frozen, processed or cooked, including but not limited to frozen boar semen, from the entire island of Luzon and the other ASF-affected areas.”

The same measure prohibited the swill feeding to the backyard hog raisers to prevent the spread of the virus to other swine, as the food scraps may contain infected pork meat.

Teves said his group is against the lifting of the temporary ban since the government admitted it lacked the facility to test the presence of the ASF in pork products.

“Unsay i-protect sa DA sa amoa? Wala (What will the DA do to protect us? None),” he said.

Last Tuesday, Teves said the Samahang Industrya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), the umbrella organization of various agricultural groups engaged in farming, fisheries, and livestock, of which Hog FADI is a member, sent a letter to Secretary, expressing their concerns that lifting the ban “will run counter to the efforts that were put in place by several local government units like Bohol and Cebu in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao to protect the local hog industries from the global outbreak of the African Swine Fever.”

Teves said checkpoints had been established at all entry and exit points, including airport and seaport, here to inspect the entry of the products so pork products from outside the city will not be brought in.

He said Mindanao Visayas remain safe from ASF but added the LGUs have to remain vigilant.

He said SINAG members emphasized that “there is no other sector that has incurred more losses because of the ASF outbreak than the hog industry as the processed meat industry is minusculeas compared to the P500 billion hog industry and allied businesses.”

According to Teves, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) had confirmed that canned goods seized at the Clark International Airport last June 14 were contaminated with the ASF virus.

“In that same month, more than 600 kilos of banned imported pork products from Belgium and another batch from Poland, but originating in Germany were seized by the City Veterinary Office in Cebu. Another shipment containing 4,000 kilos of imported frozen pork from Germany was seized in Sta Maria, in Bulacan last June 30,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)