Iloilo City considering extended prohibition on pork from Luzon

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Workers cuts pork at Commonwealth Public Market cuts pork. -- PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE Iloilo City Veterinarian’s Office said it is planning to make permanent or at least extend the 90-day ban on pork and by-products from Luzon.

“We will recommend to extend the ban. We have to look after the industry because we feel that it is very important,” City Veterinarian Dr. Tomas J. Forteza Jr. said in an interview last week.

The Department of Agriculture has said that African Swine Fever (ASF). cases are on the decline.

The initial temporary ban was ordered by Mayor Jerry P. Treñas in October following reports of ASF cases in various parts of Luzon.

The city government has hired 40 additional personnel to be part of the Task Force ASF that monitors pork and pork products retailers as well as entry points in the city.

Mr. Forteza noted that during recent inspection rounds, they found pork products in markets and supermarkets shipped in from Mindanao and Cebu but which were originally manufactured in Luzon.

“There are possibilities that infected meat might enter the city because we have monitored pork products which were declared from Mindanao and Cebu but we know these products (were made) in Luzon, so we still have to verify,” he said.

The Western Visayas Region’s Veterinary Quarantine Officer expressed support for Iloilo City’s plan.

“If they can extend this one, the veterinary quarantine office will support it because we don’t want ASF getting into the region,” Dr. John Roel C. Hilario said.

Mr. Hilario said the office have so far confiscated and dispose of 7,000 kilograms of pork and pork products without proper documentation coming through the region’s airports and seaports.

The regional hog industry is valued at P7.69 billion with a total hog population of 1,250,681 head as of Jan. 1 this year, based on data from the Regional Veterinary Quarantine Office.

Mr. Forteza said there is more than enough supply in the region to meet demand.

“Before this problem came up, we were shipping pork to Cebu and Luzon, that’s why the price now dropped because we have oversupply,” he said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo