Cebu hog raisers appeal: Protect our industry, ban entry of pork products from Luzon
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A day after the Department of Agriculture has confirmed that the hog deaths in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan were due to African Swine Fever (ASF), a group of local hog raisers in Cebu appeals for the total ban of Luzon-sourced pork and pork-related products.
During the emergency meeting called for by the ASF Task Force at the Capitol on Tuesday evening, September 10, Cebu Swine Raisers Association president Rolando Tambago said it is difficult for them to continue with their business while facing constant threat that their livestock may get infected by ASF.
“As protection sa atong probinsya ug sa almost P11 billion industry ani, kung pwede lang, that we would recommend the banning of pork products from Luzon,” Tambago said.
Tambago said the ASF burdens local producers, especially the backyard raisers, because its mortality rate reaches up to 100 percent.
But Cebu Provincial Board (PB) Member Glenn Anthony Soco, chairperson of the PB Committee on Commerce and Industry, expressed reservation especially on the economic impact of a total ban.
“We have to consider that Cebu is a transshipment point. There is a lot of logistics company nga naa diri even the big importers nga nagkinahanglan og pork from other provinces and cities,” said Soco.
“That might have a serious economic effect on us. I am not just talking about the hog industry but also the entire business dynamics of the province,” Soco said.
PB Member Victoria Corominas-Toribio, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture, however, said the need to protect Cebu’s hog industry from the effect ASF is more pressing.
“Mas dako man gud og mawala kung makasulod ang virus diri sa ato kay number one, wala man gyud nay cure. The only way to prevent it is to prevent it’s entry,” Toribio said in a separate interview.
(The loss if the ASF virus enters the province is greater because once infected, there is no cure to it. The only way to prevent infection is to prevent it from entering our borders.)
Toribio’s committee is now drafting an ordinance to strengthen the earlier executive order of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia that imposes a 100-day ban on the entry of pork products in the province without a certification from the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) and the shipment clearance form the local veterinary office of the point of origin. /elb
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