NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Wednesday print edition.
Bohol stands pat on the ban of pigs and all pork products from Mindanao even if the national zoning and movement plan for the prevention and control of African Swine Fever (ASF) only cites Luzon areas.
Provincial veterinarian, Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, on February 24 updated the mayors of Bohol during their meeting with Gov. Arthur Yap that Bohol will assert its ban on all pigs and pork products from Mindanao despite President Duterte’s instruction to implement the administrative circular of the Department of Agriculture which only cites Luzon áreas as the ones affected.
Duterte issued Administrative Order 22, instructing to implement the National Zoning and Movement Plan for the Prevention and Control of African Swine Flu contained in Administrative Circular 12 of the Department of Agriculture, where the areas identified as affected are only those monitored as of December 10, 2019 zoning.
In the December zoning, Davao was not yet in the list of áreas affected, but only Luzon.
Lapiz pointed out that the status now includes Davao and South Cotabato as affected áreas.
During a convention she attended last week in Davao, Lapiz said they were told that there are already 15 areas in the Philippines that are affected by the African Swine Flu outbreak, and the latest are Camarines Sur, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Sur.
Lapiz emphasized that the province will not take chances amid the ASF outbreak in Davao Region and Luzon.
Moreover, Lapiz reported to Yap about the weak implementation of veterinary quarantine service or border control of neighboring province, particularly Leyte, that poses great threat to our province- -considering presence of buses and private conveyance from Luzon to Bohol via Ubay.
Lapiz noted that there is “no veterinary quarantine officer assigned in Bato, Leyte.”
In addition, the ban on processed meat from Luzon has been lifted in some parts of Leyte which is a threat for possible spill-over of such product which is currently banned in Bohol.
On this, the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV) recommended that the Department of Agriculture should reinforce quarantine task force in Leyte to minimize shipment of banned and undocumented livestock and poultry products.
The OPV also recommended that the local government unit (LGU) of Leyte should step up and do their share in border control.
Most common reasons for confiscation and apprehension of banned products include the following: on processed meat, no license to operate on the part of the manufacturer or source of products; misdeclaration or misrepresentation of products; container used is labelled fruits “apple, orange” but turned out to be processed pork meat; and some processed canned goods have no manufacturing date.
An example of misdeclaration or misrepresentation of products is where confiscated items with documents were declared as mechanically deboned chicken but turned out to be processed pork products.
On this, the OPV recommended that the ports of origin would be requested to strictly check cargoes to avoid misdeclaration of products.
The OPV also recommended to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help in the inspection of processed products displayed in markets
It is also recommended that the DA be requested to provide sniffing dogs at ports where X-ray machine is not feasible or available.
This will help the veterinary quarantine officer in the inspection procedure, especially that they are not allowed to open or check bags and other personal belongings.