Cebu health authorities intercept 37 pigs on board motorized boat  

CEBU CITY -- At least 37 pigs that came from Masbate were seized on Sunday, Nov. 13, in what was described by authorities as an attempt to smuggle the hogs into Cebu province which has imposed a strict policy in the face of the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

The live pigs which were loaded on a motorized boat were intercepted in Barangay Bancasan, San Remigio town.

Dr. Rose Vincoy, Cebu provincial veterinarian, said the owner of the pigs or the recipient have yet to be traced.

Vincoy said the incident will be investigated further.

Investigation showed that the motorized boat carrying the pigs docked at the shores of Barangay Bancasan at dawn Sunday.

The place is not a usual docking area for motorized bancas.

Some residents then alerted the authorities that led to the seizure of the pigs.

Operators of the banca failed to show pertinent documents proving that transporting of the live hogs were authorized.

Vincoy said the pigs were subjected to euthanasia and were buried in the same barangay where they were intercepted.

The pigs were no longer brought to another location as a protocol to prevent the possible spread of ASF infection, Vincoy said.

Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia has ordered a ban on the entry of live hogs coming from areas, including Masbate that have been affected by ASF.

Garcia commended the Provincial Veterinary Office and other agencies for the swift action.

"I do not want to see a sudden drop in the prices of pork in San Remigio because of these smuggled live hogs," Garcia said in a media briefing on Monday, Nov. 14.

Cebu, which is protecting its P11-billion pork industry, remains one of the few islands in the country that are ASF-free.