The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) remained firm on its stand on the total ban of pork and pork products from Luzon and says the ban should only be lifted until the whole provinces are confident that the country is free from African Swine Fever (ASF).

“There’s only one way of protecting our region’s hog industry. That is to make sure that the ASF virus is contained. That’s the time that we can declare that we are ASF-free and eat the pork and pork products in areas that there is an outbreak,” according to Presidential Assistant to the Visayas (PAV) Sec. Michael Diño.

The DILG sent a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend, notifying him about the high probability of ban extension to guarantee that the virus won’t affect the main hog industry in Central Visayas, which covers a total of Php20 billion.

Dino shared that the four provincial governors sought the full support of the President to safeguard the province against the influx of pork and pork products which came from pigs raised in ASF-infected areas in Luzon until the national government declared that the country is ASF-free.

Meanwhile, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia released an executive order imposing a 100-day total ban on the arrival of pork and pork-related products from Luzon where cases of ASF are prevalent.

Other provincial governors followed the move, such as Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa, to further protect their provinces from the disease.

Statistically, only 58 provinces out of 81 in the country took the initiative to protect their hog industry by implementing a total pork ban.

“There is a high risk of contaminating the local hog industry run by backyard farmers who augment their feeds with leftover food collected from different food service establishments,” Diño further added.

The Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division of the Department of Agriculture Region 7 (AMAD-DA 7), on the other hand, revealed in their monitoring that prices in pork are stable. (RJ Espartinez)