Iloilo City extends ban on pork from Luzon

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The pork section of the Iloilo Terminal Market. -- BW/ERSSANTIAGUDO

THE ILOILO City government has extended the ban on pork and by-products from Luzon until June to ensure that the city’s swine industry remains free from African Swine Fever (ASF).

Mayor Jerry P. Treñas issued Executive Order (EO) No. 3, series of 2020, on Jan. 8, extending the initial three-month ban issued Oct. 10, 2019 following reports of ASF cases in various parts of Luzon.

“Iloilo is considered a leader of trade and a commercial hub for Western Visayas. It is a main entry/exit of inter-regional conveyance through the Iloilo International Airport and the Iloilo International Port in Loboc, Lapuz, Iloilo City. There are still cases of ASF in the country particularly in Luzon, thus a possibility of it reaching Region 6 and cause high mortality affecting the food security of the city,” the mayor said in his order.

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

Mr. Treñas, in an interview last week, said the ban extension was recommended by City Veterinarian Tomas J. Forteza Jr.

“Dr. Forteza explained to me why we need to extend the ban. He told me that there are cases of ASF in Luzon. We just want to ensure that our city is free from ASF and small piggeries in the city are protected,” he said.

Earlier, the Iloilo City Veterinarian’s Office announced a plan to make permanent or at least extend the 90-day ban after it found some pork products sold in public markets and private supermarkets to have been shipped in from Mindanao and Cebu but with raw materials from Luzon.

The Western Visayas hog industry is valued at P7.69 billion with a population of 1,250,681 head as of Jan. 1, according to the Regional Veterinary Quarantine Office. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo