The City of Iloilo is still not confident of the pork and pork products from Luzon being safe from the African swine fever (ASF) virus.

To safeguard the welfare of the hog industry in Iloilo, extending the ban on Luzon pork is a wise move, Dr. Darel Tabuada of the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) said.

ASF is an extremely transmittable disease that attacks the immune system of pigs. It causes various effects, such as high fever, lose appetite, hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs. 

Infected pigs die in a span of two to 10 days, according to the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS). As of today, no vaccine has been developed against ASF. 

To protect the city from the devastating effects it may bring, Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. issued Executive Order No. 159-A on Oct. 22 last year, temporarily banning for 90 days pork from the Luzon provinces of Rizal and Bulacan and countries posted positive for the disease (Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Luxembourg, Belgium, Bulgaria, Moldova, Czech Republic, South Africa, Zambia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, South Korea, China and its special administrative region Hong Kong).

In spite of the massive ban, Tabuada is confident that pork supply in Iloilo is enough.

“We have 200 percent surplus so even if we ban pork products from Luzon we will be sustained. We have sources from Cebu and Cagayan,” Tabuada added.

Tabuada will be closely monitoring updates from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry regarding the ASF situation in Luzon and other areas before endorsing the extension to the governor.

“We will study, together with our governor, on how long the ban would be based on the update from the Department of Agriculture,” Tabuada said.  (RJ Espartinez)