Governor Arthur Yap has found an ally in Secretary Michael Dino, presidential assistant for the Visayas, in his efforts to block the entry of live hogs, pork and pork-related products from Luzon to Bohol.
Dino on Monday said that he wrote President Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend, informing him on the possibility of extending the ban on Luzon-sourced swine and pork products to ensure that the virus is contained and will not affect the P20-billion hog industry in Central Visayas.
“There’s only one way of protecting our region’s hog industry. That is to make sure that the ASF virus is contained. That’s the time that we can declare that we are ASF-free and eat the pork and pork products in areas that there is an outbreak,” Dino said.
He said he asked the President to support the initiatives by the four governors in the region in protecting their provinces from an ASF outbreak.
Yap has noted that it is likely that he will extend the total ban on the entry of hogs and pork products sourced or processed in Luzon where ASF cases have been recorded.
The governor through an executive order imposed the 100-day ban in mid-September.
“Dakong posibilidad na ma-extend,” said Yap.
According to Yap, the national government has not met the conditions he set for him to reconsider the imposition of the total ban.
The governor has asked for an assurance from the national government particularly through the Department of Agriculture for compensation for backyard hog raisers should the ASF spread to the province and affect them.
He also wants a guarantee from the government that it will “compensate Bohol for the culling and disposal of affected dead hogs from ASF.”
“Wa pa. Mao ng hantod karon pareha pud ang akong tubag nila na magpabilin na sirado ang Bohol,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dino lauded the move of the governors in sealing off the provinces in Central Visayas, which is also aimed to protect the livelihood of the backyard farmers, that constitute around 70 percent of the hog industry in the region.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia had issued an executive order imposing a 100-day total ban on the entry of pork and pork-related products originating from Luzon.
Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa also imposed the same policy of temporarily banning meat and meat products derived from pigs from northern Philippines.
About 58 provinces out of 81 in the country are protecting their hog industry by imposing the ban.
“There is a high risk of contaminating the local hog industry run by backyard farmers who augment their feeds with leftover food collected from different food service establishments,” Dino said in an earlier statement sent to PNA.
Dino said in the memo that since the imposition of the ban, there has been a 10-percent surplus in the supply of pork in the region.
He also noted a stability in pork prices as shown in the price monitoring done by the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division of the Department of Agriculture Region 7 (AMAD-DA 7) from July 5 to October 2 this year. (with reports from PNA)