Bohol bans importation of live pigs, pork products

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Bohol temporarily banned the importation of live pigs, pork, and pork-related products in a bid to prevent the entry of African swine fever (ASF) into the province.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap issued Executive Order (EO) No. 7 on Tuesday, August 20, stating that the ban will be in effect for 100 days.

"This is due to the reported worsening situation in Luzon where the DA (Department of Agriculture) has refused to confirm or deny suspected cases of hog deaths due to African swine fever," Yap, a former agriculture secretary, said in a separate statement on Tuesday.

For live pigs, only those with a veterinary health certificate and a shipping permit issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry's Quarantine Services will be allowed entry.

For pork and pork-related products, these must have a certificate of meat inspection from the National Meat Inspection Service.

Yap's EO specifies that the ban covers pork products "in whatever form or quantity...including those which are purely for consumption purposes only."

All persons arriving at ports in Bohol should "voluntarily dispose" of any pork product in case they have it in their carry-on bags and checked-in luggage, or as a hand-carried item. There will be "designated receptacles" installed at ports for the disposal of pork products.

Yap also said he will issue a memorandum "to concerned Bohol mayors to help assign personnel to assist in the port quarantine efforts."

"Considering that the hog industry in Bohol affects more than 30,000 households in 21 municipalities [and it is] valued at more than P6 billion, we have to be proactive in ensuring the protection and sustainability of our local hog industry," said the governor.

The DA, so far, has refused to identify the disease killing pigs in Luzon, or even where these pigs are located exactly. (READ: Agriculture department evades questions as pigs die in Luzon)

Rumors have spread that the unnamed disease is ASF, which has affected at least 25 countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health– Rappler.com