GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 4 Aug) – Veterinary personnel in South Cotabato province have tightened its borders against the entry of pork products and live hogs from areas affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in North Cotabato and Davao Region.
Dr. Flora Bigot, head of the Provincial Veterinary Office, said the move was aimed to protect the province’s hog farms, especially those supplying pork to various domestic markets.
She said the entire province remains under the dark green classification or free zone for ASF based on the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) zoning and movement plan.
“There is high demand right now for pork products from the province so we’re taking necessary precautionary measures to prevent the entry of ASF in our area,” she told reporters.
Bigot said they specifically beefed up the veterinary quarantine checkpoints along the border highways and other strategic areas in the province.
The provincial government has strictly implemented the “no veterinary certificate, no slaughter policy” in local slaughterhouses and monitors the selling of pork products that did not pass proper inspection, she said.
Bigot said they also expanded their information and education campaigns among farmers and consumers regarding the threats posed by the spread of the disease.
Based on DA’s zoning map issued as of July 13, she said Davao City, Davao del Norte and Magpet town in North Cotabato were added to the list of infected areas or under red zones.
Kidapawan City and the municipalities of Makilala, Arakan and President Roxas in North Cotabato were identified as pink or buffer zones.
The outbreak in Magpet, which affected at least 11 barangays, was earlier traced to the entry of contaminated processed pork products from Davao City.
Bigot said they are closely monitoring shipments of processed meat products, including pork tocino and chorizo, from Davao City that are mostly sold online in the area.
Since Davao City and its neighboring areas are under the red zone, the entry of such products is strictly prohibited.
Bigot said the pork shipments to other areas is ongoing but some localities in Visayas were already hesitant to buy from the province due to the ASF threat.
She said farms are now required to undergo testing and secure “ASF-free certificates” before shipping out to free zones like the Agusan provinces; Samar, Leyte and Cebu in Visayas; and, in Metro Manila. (MindaNews)