Iloilo City bans pork from ASF-affected Davao Region

Meat vendors at the Iloilo Terminal Market (Photo by Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

The Iloilo City government has expanded the ban on pork and by-products by including Region 11 or Davao Region following the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in the two towns of Davao Occidental.

Mayor Jerry Treñas issued on Wednesday Executive Order (EO) No. 27, series of 2020 expanding the coverage of banning live pigs, hog carcasses, pork, and pork by-products originating and processed in Luzon to Region 11.

“Gindugang ta na ang Davao Occidental. This is to make sure nga aton diri nga piggery and hog industry indi maapektuhan,” he said in an interview on Friday.

The ban also covers pork and pork products from countries identified positive for ASF.

The mayor initially issued a three-month ban on Luzon pork and pork by-products on October 10, 2019. He later extended the ban until June following reports that there are still ASF cases in Luzon.

“There are still cases of ASF in the country particularly in Luzon and the Department of Agriculture recently announced ASF cases in Don Marcelino and Malita towns in Davao Occidental, thus, a possibility of it reaching Region 6 and cause high mortality and affect the food security of the city,” the mayor stated in the EO.

Meanwhile, DA-6, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), and local government units (LGUs) in the region has also intensified its efforts to prevent the entry of ASF in Western Visayas following the outbreaks in Davao Occidental and Davao City.

In its statement, DA-6 said the provinces of Aklan and Negros Occidental already amended its executive orders on banning pork and pork products to include those from Mindanao, particularly Davao Region.

DA, BAI, and provincial veterinary offices will closely coordinate with the LGUs particularly in the 24/7 operation of animal quarantine checkpoints, and monitoring of meat dealers and retailers to ensure that pork products sold have seals of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

During the Regional Advisory Committee for Animal Disease Control and Emergency (RACADCE) meeting held on Feb. 6 in Kalibo, Aklan, DA-6 Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter called for cooperation among stakeholders in the region to protect the multi-billion hog industry in Western Visayas.

“As of today, we are still ASF-free. We don’t want to compromise our about P10 billion hog industry that also includes forward and backward linkages,” she said in a statement.

Despite the ban, Recoter said the region is more than self-sufficient and can still supply its residents should the local government move for the total lockdown of all pork and pork products.

“Western Visayas is more than 200 percent self-sufficient should the government opts for the total lockdown of pork and pork products from outside the region. The government should protect the sector as 80 percent of it are on the backyard scale,” she said.