NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The risk of crippling the P10 billion hog industry shifts higher gear as the dreaded African Swine Flu (ASF) gets nearer with Iloilo being the latest to get penetrated with this fast-spreading hog disease.
Chairman Nonon Tabago of the Central Visayas Producers Coop (CEVIPPCO) issued the warning that Bohol being one of the top producers should double its measures to prevent the entry of ASF. He said Central Visayas is the country’s number one producer of hogs, thus the risk is higher compared to other regions.
He confirmed that it has spread to Iloilo last week where government veterinarians were dispatched to help arrest the spread to more towns in Iloilo.
Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz told the Chronicle that starting this week, online dealers of pork and pork products who could not show proper documents of where their products were sourced out, would have their products confiscated and still be liable for a P1,000 to P5,000 fine as well as imprisonment of not more than six months or at the discretion of the courts.
This also includes transport carriers of these illegally shipped products to Bohol would have the products confiscated and the driver, pilot, or captain themselves would be fined P5K, even if it is for allowing the loading of such prohibited products.
This as Bohol Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed Provincial Ordinance No. 2022-011, last September 13, the Ordinance revising Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-015 which prohibits the entry of live pig, pork, pork products, frozen semen coming from African Swine Fever affected areas and providing penalties thereof.
Aptly called the Revised Bohol African Swine Fever Prevention Ordinance of 2022, the revised ordinance now carries penal provisions, administrative proceedings as well as the Implementing Rules and Regulations in the furtherance of the policy.
“This is also to protect the consumers who may not know where the meat they are buying online comes from or did it pass through the proper government regulations in meat safety,” briefs Dr. Lapiz, during the National African Swine Fever Prevention and Control Program (NASFPCP) ASF Preparedness Private Stakeholders Meeting held at the Panda Tea Garden Suites earlier this week.
Republic Act 9296, or the National Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines declares it as a state policy to prevent the entry of disease-carrying animals into meat establishments and ensure the safety and quality of imported meat and meat products, the multi-awarded provincial veterinarian said.
At least, they have to keep the NMIS documents on the meat they are selling, or we get them for violations of the law and the ordinance.
Since the time of the restrictions during the pandemic, the online market has been alive, several of the products sold include pork trimmings, pork jowls and pork ham, the sellers of which do not engage when asked where their meat supply comes from.
Since May 25, 2021, Bohol has officially imposed the ban on the entry of live pig, pork, pork products, and frozen semen from areas affected by the ASF, via Provincial Ordinance 2021-015.
Section 3.1 of the revised ordinance says, transporting, carrying, possessing, or importing live pig, pork, pork products, frozen swine semen, swine feeds and processed porcine animal proteins in whatever quantity coming from or passing through ASF-affected areas to the territorial jurisdiction of Bohol by any person has been prohibited.
It also bans the entry of livestock and poultry carriers coming from and passing through ASF Affected areas, and they are only allowed until the port premises for the purpose of transferring live animals and other related cargoes not prohibited under section 3.
With this, all inbound shipping, airline, transport companies and courier services ensure that live pigs, pork and port products whether processed or cooked, frozen swine semen and swine feed from affected areas are not loaded in their vessels.
And as for travelers who may have innocently brought these to Bohol, upon disembarkation, receptacles where inbound passengers can voluntarily discard these prohibited products are placed before reaching the veterinary quarantine stations at the port.
Moreover, any prohibited products which are not voluntarily surrendered or disclosed prior to or upon disembarkation are confiscated on sight, disinfected and burned immediately.
And for the port authorities to work, the revised ordinance also provides that the Provincial Government and the Collecting Municipal Local Government Unit share equally on the share of the proceeds of the administrative charges. (with reports from PIA-Bohol)