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NegOcc bans entry of pork from Bacolod, ASF affected areas

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday ordered a total ban on the entry into Negros Occidental, all live pigs, pork and their byproducts from Bacolod City, along with other African Swine Fever (ASF) red zones, as classified by the Department of Agriculture.

The order was contained in an Executive Order No. 24-07, dated February 26 issued by Lacson, that establishes the guidelines for the entry of all live pigs, boar semen, pork products and related items, from ASF affected areas.

Aside from highly urbanized Bacolod City, other areas covered by the entry ban are Negros Oriental, islands of Panay, Guimaras, Bantayan and Camotes, Cebu province, Region 8, Mindanao, Luzon, and other countries affected with ASF, as may be declared by the DA.

Highly urbanized Bacolod City has been tagged by DA as an ASF red zone, while Negros Occidental is a dark green zone.

Last week, the province of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City jointly issued earlier Executive Order No. 1, series of 2024, setting aside Joint EO No.1, series of 2023,  “establishing the guidelines for the entry of all live pigs, boar semen, pork, pork products and other related food items from areas with reported cases of ASF.”

In view of the different classifications of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, and upon the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture (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, and its related products and food items from areas with reported cases of ASF, the joint EO stated.

It was followed by the issuance of executive order number 9 by Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez on February 23, ordering the Bacolod City Veterinary Office (CVO) “to allow the movement of pork and other swine products in the city pursuant to the provisions of Department of Agriculture (DA) Administrative Circular No. 22, series of 2022.”

Based on the monitoring of the Provincial Veterinary Office as of February 20, the price of pork in Bacolod City is at P410 per kilogram, while pork being sold outside the highly urbanized city goes for as low as P290 per kilogram.

Lacson admitted that enforcing the new guidelines may be “a little difficult,” noting that the provincial anti-ASF task force assigned to guard the BREDCO and Banago ports in Bacolod City will be removed.

But he said the provincial government will find a way to ensure that the pork being delivered in Bacolod City, will remain within the highly urbanized city.

Lacson, however, stressed that the entry of pork and live pigs in other ports, such as the cities of Cadiz, Sagay, San Carlos, Escalante, as well as in EB Magalona and Pulupandan, remains banned.

In his executive order, Lacson further states that exempted from the ban are processed pork products that are fully cooked such as ham, sausages, hotdogs, canned goods, pork chicharon, pork-based seasonings, and the like, provided they are sourced from meat establishments with Certificate of Compliance from the ASF Public-Private Audit

Transshipment and/or transfer of imported pork and pork products, provided that the country of origin is ASF free and in case of transfer, the pork items must come from a cold storage exclusive for imported meat, the EO further states.

Lacson also noted that majority of cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental are classified as pink to light green zones, and are now ready for hog repopulation and the implementation of biosecurity measures to prevent the recurrence of transboundary swine diseases.*

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