GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Local officials in the city and adjacent provinces have stepped up again a campaign to thwart a possible spread of the highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF).
Dr. Antonio Ephraim Marin, chief of the General Santos City Veterinary Office, said they were leaving no chances for the hog disease to sneak into the city again by keeping an eye on traders who may take advantage of the present high demand for pork and pork products.
“There are those who keep on trying to sneak contraband pork into our city” despite a prohibition resorted to since the start of the ASF outbreak in the country, Marin said on Tuesday, December 28.
Authorities have so far seized around 10 tons or some P2.9 million worth of pork and pork products since January.
The local veterinary office has set up about a dozen checkpoints around the city to block the entry of hogs, pork, and its processed form, cooked or otherwise, without the proper veterinary health certificate.
Marin said they were implementing stricter measures now to protect the city’s P8.4-billion hog industry.
In neighboring South Cotabato province, authorities also imposed stricter measures to protect its hog farms.
There, authorities require proof that pork and pork products brought in by people or groups from other places are ASF-free.
Dr. Flora Bigot, chief of South Cotabato’s Provincial Veterinary Office, said on Tuesday the local governments of General Santos and Sarangani province were implementing the same measures.
“Visitors bringing lechons (roasted pigs) into the province need to secure meat inspection certificates,” Bigot said.
She also said hogs being transported to General Santos or Sarangani via South Cotabato also need to be covered with a shipping permit from the Veterinary Quarantine Office at the Makar wharf in General Santos.
Bigot said excursionists, especially those going to the beaches in General Santos or Sarangani, may as well buy their lechon in the city or province. – Rappler.com
Rommel Rebollido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.