The provincial government of Negros Occidental has remained strong in terms of its stand in imposing a total ban on pork from Luzon, countering the statement of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to stop the existing restrictions.

“The Provincial African swine fever (ASF) Task Force is of the firm position that any premature lifting of the existing ban will pose serious and irreversible damage to the PHP6-billion provincial swine industry,” says the provincial government of Negros Occidental in a statement.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who serves as the chairperson, and the Provincial ASF Task Force agreed not to lift the ban during its meeting on Wednesday.

“The task force will wait for the official copy of the mentioned DILG memorandum encouraging the lifting of the ban before taking action on the matter,” it added.

The task force is set to push for the full implementation of the existing 90-day ban.

Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año ordered LGUs to let the entrance and selling of processed meat products that contain pork as an ingredient in all provinces under set conditions, as mandated by the memorandum circular he released to governors, city and municipal mayors, and village chiefs.

“Since the government has been acting aggressively and effectively to address the ASF outbreak, we are urging all LGUs to lift the ban on processed meat products containing pork for as long as the products meet certain conditions imposed by the Department of Agriculture,” the DILG chief said.

The task force recently confiscated a shipment of 8,640 packs of siopao or 51,840 pieces at the Bredco port in Bacolod City where they were shipped back to Cebu on Wednesday night. According to the report, the delivery truck originated from Mandaue City, but the documents falsified it when its true origin was Quezon.

On the very same day, 21 cans of imported pork products and three kilograms of imported jowls in the town’s public market were seized by a team of the Pontevedra Municipal Agriculture Office in the south.

Negros Occidental is the country’s number one backyard hog producer with a total of PHP6-billion swine industry. To safeguard the city’s main industry, the provincial government has imposed a temporary ban on September 18 to prohibit the entry of pork and pork products from Luzon, where positive cases of ASF are high. (RJ Espartinez)