PB wants prison term, fines for importers of hog products from ASF affected areas
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Board’s Committee on Agriculture is now drafting an ordinance that seeks to impose penalties on individuals who will try to bring into the province pork and pork-related products from areas affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).
Third district Board Member Victoria Corominas Toribio, the Committee’s chairperson, said a fine of up to P5,000 and imprisonment of up to six years are the proposed penalties for those caught importing from areas affected by the ASF.
“This is to strengthen the executive orders issued by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and to be able to impose penalties, which will also be a deterrent measure against those who still engage in importing hogs and products from areas affected by the ASF,” Toribio said
Aside from the 20 countries identified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) as ASF-affected, the province is now considering a total ban on Luzon-sourced pork products following the confirmation of ASF cases in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan.
At present, the province is imposing Executive Order number 14 which bans the entry of pork products from other provinces unless it bears certification from the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) and a shipment clearance from the veterinary office of the point of origin.
During the ASF Task Force emergency meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday evening, September 10, 2019, Cebu Swine Raisers Association President Rolando Tambago asked the province can impose a total ban on the pork products sourced from Luzon provinces in order to protect the province’s P10.9 billion hog industry.
While ASF has no proven effect on humans, ASF infection induces up to 100 percent mortality rate among hogs and has no known cure.
Garcia said she has yet to weigh the need for the total ban alongside the possible market effects.
Sixth District Board Member Glenn Anthony Soco, chair of the PB Commerce and Industry Committee, has earlier expressed reservations on the proposed total ban.
“We have to consider that Cebu is a transshipment point. There are a lot of logistics companies nga naa diri even the big importers nga nagkinahanglan og pork from other provinces and cities,” said Soco. /bmjo
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