Negros Occidental heightens border control to curb ASF recurrence

Posted by watchmen
February 28, 2024


Pigs in a backyard farm in Negros Occidental in this undated photo. (PNA Bacolod / File photo)
Pigs in a backyard farm in Negros Occidental in this undated photo. (PNA Bacolod / File photo)

Negros Occidental province has enforced heightened border control operations to prevent the recurrence of African swine fever (ASF) after the highly-urbanized Bacolod City and the neighboring Negros Oriental allowed the shipment of live pigs, pork, and other pork-related food items from other parts of the country.

In Executive Order (EO) 24-07 issued on Monday, February 26, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson directed the total ban on the entry of these products from areas with reported cases of ASF, including Bacolod and Negros Oriental.

He called on the Philippine National Police, the Department of Agriculture (DA), and other concerned government agencies to heighten the security and patrol of the provincial borders.

“The majority of the cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental are classified as pink to light green zones, and are now ready for hog repopulation and implementation of biosecurity measures to prevent the recurrence of transboundary diseases,” Lacson said.

Pink (buffer) zone refers to local government units where ASF is not detected but demarcated immediately around a red (infected) zone, while light green zone includes those where ASF is not detected and considered moderate risk areas.

In an interview yesterday, Dr. Placeda Lemana, provincial veterinarian, said several hog raisers in Negros Occidental have started restocking, and the province wants to make sure that biosecurity measures are complied with.

“We’re very strict because we are in the sentineling stage, we don’t want to get infected again. We don’t want to experience again what happened last year when our hog population could have been wiped out,” she added.

The sentineling program is a science-based preparation for hog repopulation in ASF-stricken areas to ascertain that the disease no longer exists.

In 2023, Negros Occidental, which has a P6-billion swine industry, recorded almost 18,000 hog mortalities in about 20 local government units, mainly due to ASF and hog cholera.

Based on EO 24-07, the pork ban in Negros Occidental also covers Luzon, Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, Panay Island, Guimaras Island, Cebu province (including Camotes Island and Bantayan Island), and other countries affected by ASF as may be declared by the DA.

Exempted from the ban are processed pork products that are fully cooked, including ham, sausages, hotdogs, canned goods, pork chicharon, pork-based seasonings, and the like, provided they came from meat establishments with a certificate of compliance with the ASF public-private audit.

Also exempted are transshipment and/or transfer of imported pork and pork products provided that the country of origin is ASF free and the pork items must come from cold storage exclusive for imported meat as well as gilts, boars, and semen for breeding purposes from colored zones except red zone. (PNA)


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