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Bulacan bans entry of live pigs, meat products from ASF-affected areas

Bulacan governor Daniel Fernando has ordered a total ban on the entry of live pigs and meat products from the affected areas by the African Swine Fever (ASF).

In a statement on Thursday, Fernando said he issued Executive Order No. 13 to ensure that the province's effort to repopulate its hogs will not be affected.

Under the executive order, the province will implement a total ban on live hogs, carcasses, and cooked and processed meats coming from areas affected by ASF as declared by the National Task Force for Prevention of ASF and other government agencies.

“Shipments coming from pink to green zones or those from buffer, protected, or free zones must first request a letter of acceptance from the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) accompanied by an ASF negative test result not older than two weeks from time of shipment before being allowed to enter Bulacan,” it stated.

Fernando said the PVO also conducted surveillance on backyard raisers from the different cities and municipalities, while commercial farms were being tested and results were submitted to the PVO.

“Since mayroon pong cases ng ASF sa ibang lalawigan lalo na sa gawing Visayas at dumadami ang hog traders na nagpapasok ng baboy sa ating lalawigan, kailangan natin itong i-regulate upang masiguro natin na hindi tayo mapapasukan ng mga ASF positive na baboy,” the Bulacan governor said.

(Since there are cases of ASF in other provinces, especially in the Visayas, and the number of hog traders importing pork into our province is increasing, we need to regulate it so that we can ensure that ASF positive pigs do not enter us.)

He said biosecurity seminars were also being held for farmers across all municipalities and distributed disinfectants to prevent spread of ASF.

The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) earlier blamed what it called the “unlimited” and “untested” importation of pork into the Philippines for the continued spread of the ASF in the country.

Last month, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) warned of a possible pork shortage due to the spread of ASF, with losses in Luzon estimated at P100 billion.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has since said all regions in the country were affected by ASF, save for Metro Manila which has no hog raisers.

Among the areas said to be ASF-free as of end-March were Aklan, Albay, Antique, Batanes, Biliran, Bohol, Bukidnon, Eastern Samar, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Oriental Mindoro, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Quirino, and Romblon.

Latest data available from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that hog production increased by 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2022, but the whole agriculture sector saw a full-year drop in production to mark the third straight year of contraction. — Richa Noriega/BM, GMA Integrated News