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‘Get supply from ASF free areas’

A team from the National Meat Inspection Services in Western Visayas finds pork products from Manila being displayed in an establishment in Iloilo City*

Online sellers are encouraged to procure pork and pork products from areas free of African swine fever.

Dr. Jonic Natividad, chief of the Regulatory Division of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit Western Visayas, said yesterday that they have been reaching out to administrators of buy and sell groups in the social media and came up with series of infographics about ASF but some continue their trade because it’s their way to earn.

“We urge online sellers to source out their products from legitimate sellers from areas with no cases of African swine fever,” he said.

Natividad added that even with the border control inspection working 24/7, still some could not be intercepted because these are being transported through private vehicles or they “deceive” authorities by hiding pork products under fruits, vegetables, and even ready to wear items.

“We lobby for local government units to allow border control to open vehicles, especially those entering Aklan via Caticlan port for products coming from Luzon,” he said.

He said that while other products, like “chicharon”, are already cooked yet there are studies that the ASF could survive even in extreme temperature.

In provinces where there are no ordinances banning the entry of pork and pork products from ASF-hit areas, they could only resort to issuing reminders and confiscation as provided for in their executive orders.

A routine market inspection by the National Meat Inspection Service on May 5 led to the confiscation of 24 packs of pork sausages sourced from Manila, being sold in one establishment in Iloilo City.

The items were disposed of under the supervision of the Iloilo City ASF Task Force as the province and city of Iloilo prohibit pork products from ASF-affected areas.

Currently, the provinces of Antique, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental have their own ASF ordinances, Aklan is crafting its own, while Guimaras is also in the process of coming up with its measure.

Natividad said it would be ideal if they could make use of the template of the Bantay ASF sa Barangay when coming up with an ordinance since “it would be better if its application could reach down to the barangay level.”

Meantime, as part of their massive education campaign, he said that DA, under regional executive director Remelyn Recoter, initiated the series of ASF virtual capability building among stakeholders this month.

“It is a venue for stakeholders, LGUs and partner agencies for them to be updated,” he said.

The Agriculture Training Institute also started its training for barangay biosecurity officers on geo-tagging.

During the training, they were taught how to geo-tag piggeries, both small scale and on a commercial level, so their location can be easily identified in case of an ASF case.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that Western Visayas has 1.24 million swine population.*PNA

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