COTABATO CITY – North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco has warned the public against bringing in prohibited meat products in the face of the African swine fever (ASF) infection in the province.
“The ASF is a grave threat to the Philippine swine industry,” Catamco said in a statement released on Wednesday evening.
She said the provincial government will strictly enforce Republic Act 10536 or the Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines in the province of North Cotabato. Violators will be fined PHP200,000.
Catamco directed the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) to prohibit the entry of live hogs, fresh and frozen pork products, cooked and uncooked processed pork products, and by-products starting Thursday.
Catamco said it is prohibited to transport pork products via public and private utility vehicles without documentary requirements from the office of the veterinary services.
She said the move came after more than 30 hogs in three villages in Magpet, North Cotabato have tested positive for ASF.
This forced agriculture officials to discard more than 100 hogs in the villages and nearby communities within a one-kilometer radius.
Also on Wednesday, Catamco issued an advisory to public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers, that all swine commercial farms in the province would be allowed to move their hogs via PUVs “provided they have presented the documents in designated animal quarantine checkpoints in the disease outbreak areas.”
She said the shipment of live animals, which are apparently healthy upon inspection, would be held and given 24 hours to complete the required documents, otherwise, it will be sent back to its place origin.
Shipment of sick and dead animals with incomplete shipment documents shall be confiscated and disposed of accordingly by apprehending authorities.
“The DA personnel manning animal quarantine checkpoints will ensure that all live, cooked, uncooked, processed pork products must have necessary permits and other pertinent documents to allow entry, otherwise, these products will be confiscated,” she said.
In Kidapawan City, the local government has also issued a temporary ban on the entry of all live hogs and pork by-products from other places amid the ASF threat.
Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista advised residents to only buy pork products inside the city public market for the safety of their respective families.
“Meat peddlers will be sanctioned and products will be confiscated for proper disposition,” Evangelista said in a separate statement Thursday.
He said the city government had setup anti-ASF checkpoints along strategic entry points in coordination with barangay officials, police, and local health authorities. Edwin Fernandez and John Andrew Tabugoc /PNA – northboundasia.com