Governor Arthur Yap is considering the possibility of imposing a total ban on the entry of live hogs and pork products from Luzon into Bohol in a bid to thwart the spread of the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) which is feared to be disastrous to the province’s P6-billion swine industry.
According to Yap, he might amend Executive Order (EO) No. 7—which only bars the entry of uncertified swine and pork into Bohol—to upgrade the directive into a total ban pending a study of Capitol agriculture experts.
“We are studying it. If that is the recommendation sa atong mga experts, we will consider it,” Yap told the media on Tuesday night.
The current version of the EO which was issued by Yap last month currently allows entry to live pigs, pork and pork-related products with certification from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).
The governor is also considering including in the EO amendment the prohibition of swill feeding, which has been seen as probable cause of spreading the disease.
Yap said that they will come up with a decision next week at the latest to whether or not amend the EO.
He made an assurance that Bohol is self-sufficient in terms of pork products.
In an earlier interview, Provincial Veterinary Office chief Bing Lapiz said that according to latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority Bohol has a pork sufficiency rate of 440 percent.
However, Yap said that he still ordered the Provincial Agriculture Office to oversee the increase of production of other food commodities to ensure sufficiency as he considered the imposition of a broader pig and pork ban.
Yap’s plan to further heighten quarantine measures on swine and pork products came after the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed ASF outbreaks in some areas in Rizal and Bulacan.
The governor also highlighted the need for being “pro-active” given that the multi-billion local swine industry affects the livelihood of around 50,000 farmers in Bohol.
“In Luzon, there is a widening impact on the ASF problem. Now, if it widens, you have to consider the impact not only the live hogs, pork-related products and mga boar semen you also have to consider all the feeds coming to that area and being used in the area,” he said.
The DA emphasized however that there is no nationwide ASF epidemic.
In a statement issued Monday, DA secretary William Dar said that the ASF in Rizal and Bulacan has been “contained and controlled.”