Governor Arthur Yap is not keen on rescinding an executive order which imposes a total ban on the entry of live hogs, pork and pork-related products from African swine fever (ASF) -stricken Luzon into the province, even amid calls from the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the prohibition to be lifted.
According to Yap, he would need an assurance of full compensation from the national government for the damages that an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in Bohol would cost before he would re-allow the entry of swine from the region where outbreaks have been confirmed in Rizal, Bulacan and Quezon City.
Yap, who is a former agriculture secretary, has repeatedly pointed out that his preemptive stand against ASF was made to protect the 50,000 backyard hog raisers of Bohol who partly comprise the province’s swine industry which he valued at P6 billion.
“Bohol will not object to lifting the quarantine as long as we have a guaranteed assurance that all costs related to an ASF breakout in Bohol, including but not limited to culling, disposal and compensation to affected hog raisers, will be fully subsidized by the national government,” Yap said in a text message sent to the media.
In a statement issued on Friday last week, DA Secretary William Dar asked Yap and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to “soften their hearts” and lift the total ban.
“In these trying times, particularly in protecting our shores from the challenges of major diseases such as the ASF, we appeal for unity and brotherhood among our countrymen, most particularly our local chief executives,” Dar said.
He also warned that a “hard position could create repercussions, where other provinces may retaliate by cutting off the food stocks to and fro Cebu and Bohol.”
National media earlier reported that the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) is seeing P30 to P45 billion in losses with the prolonged total hog and pork ban in Cebu and Bohol.
Meanwhile, provincial veterinarian Stella Marie Lapis confirmed that Yap maintained his stand on the total ban.
She said that the Provincial Veterinary Office will continue to enforce Executive Order No. 22 which bars the entry of Luzon-sourced live hogs, pork, and processed pork products from entering Bohol.
Previously, Lapiz said that it would take years or even decades for the province to recover from an ASF outbreak.
An outbreak which hit Europe in the 1950s took “decades” to eradicate, The Guardian reported last year. Lapiz, a veteran in the veterinary field, said that it took 40 years to eliminate ASF in some countries of the continent.
“Pag 1957, nakagawas siya sa Africa hing abot sa Europe. Daghang countries ang na-igo didto…From 1957, na-eliminate ang sakit mid 1990s na. So mga 37 to 40 years usa nila nawala ang sakit sa ilang lugar,” Lapiz said in an earlier interview.
“Imagine kung ma-igo ta sa Bohol, pila ka tuig na wa jamo tay baboy,” she added. (R. Tutas, A. Doydora)