Western Visayas LGUs tighten watch on pork movement, monitor online sellers – Rappler

COLOR-CODING. Iloilo Governor presents a color-coded map showing the African Swine Fever risk levels of towns and cities, with red marking Oton town, which has confirmed cases.
Iloilo Province Information Office screencap
KALIBO, Philippines – The provinces of Aklan, Negros Occidental, and the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod tightened their border closures against pork products to prevent African Swine Fever (ASF) contamination while Iloilo province classified Oton town as a Red (infected) Zone on Tuesday, October 18.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. announced Executive Order No. 460, which bans the movement of live pigs, pork, pork products, and swine genetic materials from the municipality of Oton to other local government units for a period of 10 days or until October 27, 2022.
Defensor’s move followed the local agriculture office’s October 13 report that swine specimen samples from Barangay Bira Norte had tested positive for ASF.
The ASF is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. But the World Organization for Animal Health said it can result in massive losses in pig populations, with drastic economic consequences as there is no effective vaccine available.
The EO lays out five color-coded categories, with Red covering municipalities or cities with a confirmed ASF outbreak. Defensor defined “outbreak” as the spread of ASF from one barangay to another in the same municipality within 15 days.
Pink (Buffer) Zones – cities or municipalities on the perimeters of the Red zone but without no reported ASF cases – will be placed under surveillance and other biosecurity measures. These include the towns of  San Miguel, Pavia and Tigbauan, and the independently-administered Iloilo City.
Other colors – yellow, light green, and dark green – show the descending levels of risk in municipalities.
In Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas urged hog raisers to stop using food waste to feed pigs, citing city veterinarians’ warning that lifespan of the ASF virus is 15 weeks in chilled meat and three to six months in processed food.
Treñas issued an EO banning the entry of live hogs, boar semen, pork, and all pork-related products from Oton and ordered border checkpoints in Mandurriao and Arevalo districts.
The EO requires meat inspection certificates from point of origin and additional attesting documents from LGU veterinarian offices. It also orders the spraying of truck tires with disinfectant and subjecting delivery crew to foot baths.
In Aklan, the head of the Provincial Veterinarian Office on October 18 told residents to refrain from ordering ham products from online sellers outside the province.
“We have also asked the PNP to monitor online sellers who may sell hams from Metro Manila especially during the forthcoming yuletide season,”  said Dr. Maria Cyrosa Leen Mabel C. Siñe.
“For this Christmas season, Aklanons must patronize local processed meat products as we have enough supply. We must sacrifice buying ham products outside of Aklan for now to protect us from having an ASF,” Provincial Board Member Nemesio Neron, who chairs the committee on agriculture, also told the Rappler in an interview.
Siñe said the province will intensify border control along several boundaries, including in Altavas town in Eastern Aklan and Nabas and Buruanga in Western District.
The Philippine Coast Guard and the Police Maritime Group are also conducting inspection of port, including those coming from nearby Romblon province.
Aklan Governor Jose Enrique Miraflores on October 14 issued Executive Order No. 45 banning the entry of all swine and pork products a day after Iloilo province reported an ASF case in Oton town.
In Negros Occidental, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez issued a consolidated executive order, creating a joint ASF task force to harmonize policies aimed at protecting the province’s P6-billion hog industry.
“We’re so near to the ASF incident so we have to do our best,” the governor said on October 18.
Lacson had issued an EO on October 14 banning the entry of all pigs, pork, and pork products, from the the provinces of Iloilo, Antique, Capiz, Aklan, and Guimaras in Panay island.
The joint EO orders the seizure and immediate condemnation of undocumented shipment of live animals and animal products into the province and the city, as well as mandatory and regular disinfection of transport carriers and proper disposal of their food wastes upon entry.
On October 15 and 16, quarantine inspectors of the province stopped pork products as they were unloaded from roll-on, roll-off vessels at Bacolod’s Bredco Port and sent them back to their points of origin. – Rappler.com
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