Bacolod lifts ban on pork to revitalize local hog industry amid rising demand

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The city government here has directed the City Veterinary Office (CVO) to allow the movement of pork and other swine products in Bacolod to avert any threat of shortage of basic food necessities.

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez issued an executive order last Friday, pursuant to the updated provisions of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to prevent the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in order to help revive the local hog industry and its allied industries.

Benitez said in the executive order that necessary permits and pertinent documents should accompany all shipments of live pigs, pork, pork products, and other related products.

This development came after Benitez and Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson also signed a joint executive order last Friday, setting aside their joint executive order in 2023, establishing the guidelines for the entry of all live pigs, boar semen, pork, pork products, and other pork-related food items from areas with reported cases of ASF.

Based on the joint EO, the city of Bacolod has been tagged by the DA as an ASF red zone, while the province is classified as a dark green zone.

The red zone is an area with confirmed cases of ASF, while the dark green zone is an area which remains free from the ASF virus, according to the ASF zone classification of the DA.

In view of the different classifications of the province and the city of Bacolod, and upon the recommendation of the DA, there is a need to set aside joint executive order no. 1, series of 2023, in order for the two local government units to issue their respective guidelines on the entry of live pigs, pork, pork products, and other pork-related food items from areas with reported cases of ASF, the joint executive order said.

Meanwhile, Lacson, in a media interview last week, said that they will continue to follow their own policy to protect the swine industry in the province.

“We will continue to be strict, especially from areas that are coded as red,” he added.

Lacson said that when they gave cash assistance to the affected hog raisers, they explained to them that they should not rush and continue to follow the protocols, as ASF may hit again anytime, and many will suffer and get affected.

“While we would like to go back to our status as one of the biggest backyard hog raisers, we have to be very strict in our protocol. What’s important is we know how to recover,” Lacson said.

Last week, Negros Oriental Governor Manuel Sagarbarria also issued an executive order which provides guidelines on the transport and movement of live pigs, pork products, and by-products into the province.

By reopening the province’s borders to hog raisers, Sagarbarria aims to create opportunities for businesses to flourish and contribute to a cost-effective market economy in Negros Oriental.

The decision to lift the ban is a move to revive the struggling pork industry in Negros Oriental, which came as a welcome relief to hog raisers and consumers alike who have been grappling with the aftermath of the ASF outbreak.