Pampanga bans live pigs from entering its territory

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Pampanga has banned the entry of live pigs into its territory to protect its livestock and meat processing industries from the dreaded African swine fever (ASF).

Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda ordered Friday, September 13, local officials to coordinate with the provincial police in enforcing the hog blockade after an outbreak of the ASF was confirmed just across its borders.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed on September 9 that the ASF virus was the cause of hog deaths in the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal.

Pampanga is now the fifth province, and the first from Luzon, to seal its borders because of the ASF scare. The others were Misamis Orientai,  CebuBohol, and Negros Occidental. 

The ASF virus is not considered a human threat. However, it is fatal to swines who contract the virus.

Executive Order No. 34, series 2019 also created the Pampanga ASF Task Force headed by Provincial Veterinarian Augusto Baluyut and the provincial board’s agriculture committee chairman Ananias Canlas.

The task force’s members include the veterinary quarantine station officer of the DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry, the provincial quarantine officer of the Bureau of Quarantine of the Department of Health, the provincial police director, the provincial health office, the president of the Barangay League, and the head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Pineda cited in his order the reports that ASF, a highly contagious viral disease affecting pigs and wild boars, has already reached nearby provinces and that the immediate implementation of control measures were needed.

ASF-police checkpoints were already established along provincial boundary-crossing and other strategic areas to enforce the ban.

The governor’s order also said that pork meat and pork-related products from outside Pampanga will be inspected and only those that have National Meat Inspection Service seal or certificates will be allowed into this province.

"With respect to pork and pork-related products, only those with National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) seal or with appropriate Certificate of Meat Inspection issued by NMIS shall be allowed entry into the province, with the exception of those coming from ASF affected area," said the EO.

Pineda earlier issued a memorandum to all mayors here to take preventive actions against ASF as advised by the DA through its administrative order.

In Guagua town here, the local government has banned all live hogs and cattle without NMIS marks.

“All slaughtered hogs and large cattle at the Guagua Public Market should bear the mark of inspection by the accredited NMIS Meat Inspectors,” Mayor Dante Torres said in a memorandum order. – Rappler.com