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DA 7 calls for vigilance vs. ASF

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has called for public vigilance and more stringent border measures to be implemented in all ports in Central Visayas following official declaration of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Region 8.

It is the first case of ASF in the Visayas, which, if it can penetrate Region 7, can paralyze the P11 billion industry, because the people will stop buying pork to avoid the animal disease.

In a press release from DA 7, it was said that field reports on alleged high mortalities among swine population in Abuyog, Leyte since the first week of January already triggered an alarm.

DA 7 told Cebu Business Week in a press statement that the Central Visayas Animal Disease Surveillance Advisory Committee (CV ADSAC) under this agency convened in a virtual meeting last Jan. 13, 2021 with chief veterinarians in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental, city veterinarians, Regional Vet Quarantine Services (RVQS) 7 and Dr. Eduardo Oblena, chief of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) 7.

Personnel of Local Government Units (LGUs) and RVQS 7 deployed in ports are directed to strictly check all documents accompanying transported swine and pork and ensure that all livestock transport vehicles are properly disinfected. Disinfection certificates must be present in all ports.

Online application for shipping permits is already enforced by RVQS 7 with an additional requirement for submission of a route plan.

Last November 26, 2020, Bohol Governor Arthur Yap issued Executive Order No. 56 regulating transport and movement of pigs and directed that trucks transporting pigs must load and unload only in designated area within their ports.

DA 7 said that the Cebu Provincial Government will soon issue a new executive order regarding establishment of quarantine regulations on the entry of livestock transport vehicles and vessels into Cebu province, except Cebu City which is not under its jurisdiction.

The veterinarians have also discussed the designation of specific ports in Region 7 for the entry/exit of trucks from Luzon and other regions with ASF.

Cebu commercial hog raisers are now supplying pork to Metro Manila traders which sell it at P400 per kilo. This has increased the pork prices in Cebu from P210 early this year to P280 per kilo at present. ELIAS O. BAQUERO