Cebu to impose strict border control vs ASF

CEBU CITY – Cebu will enforce a strict border control to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the province.

GOV. Garcia (center). (FB)

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said Carcar City will be isolated after cases of ASF were confirmed in the area following blood testing of slaughtered pigs from Negros Island.

By isolating Carcar, hogs and pork from the area will not be allowed to be brought outside the city.

“For precautionary measures, we have immediately closed off the borders. I have prohibited the bringing out of live hogs and even pork," Garcia told reporters on Tuesday, March 7.

Garcia said police and personnel from the Provincial Veterinarian Office will be deployed in at least seven access roads to Carcar which is home to one of the best ‘’lechon’’ (roasted pigs) in the province.

"This is not an environment that we have total control of. But now that the challenge is here, it is how we shall answer that challenge, whether we will be able to contain it or will it spread to the other towns and cities of the province," Garcia said.

The province is also checking neighboring areas of Carcar to prevent or detect possible cases of ASF.

Blood testing last March 1 showed that at least 30 pigs that came from Negros Island and brought to Carcar tested positive for ASF.

Garcia has issued an executive order banning the entry of hogs, pork, and pork products from Negros Island into Cebu.

Mayor Patrick Barcenas disclosed that 11 out of 15 barangays in Carcar were affected by ASF.

Garcia said she will meet hog raisers in Carcar to find out how the provincial government can assist them.

She said ASF-affected pigs must be culled to prevent the disease from spreading further.

"We will fight as we have always fought all other challenges we have faced. I repeat, it is important that we are upfront about it. We don't try to hide it. Because when we hide it, it just causes more rumors," Garcia said.

The Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative (CeViPPCo) and other hog farmers in Cebu were saddened over the reported cases of ASF in Carcar.

“As Cebu is one of the few provinces that is yet to be affected by ASF, we hope that the measures taken by the Cebu provincial government through its Provincial Veterinary Office and the LGU concerned will prevent its spread. We appreciate their continued efforts in protecting hog producers in Cebu,” the group said in a statement.

CeViPPCo, headed by its president Jonathan Young and chairman Rolando Tambago, said they will continue to work closely with the Cebu provincial government and the Carcar LGU to monitor the entire province and take necessary steps to prevent further spread of the disease.

“We urge fellow hog producers in Cebu to implement strict biosecurity measures in their farms and not to panic. Experience has shown that following the biosecurity guidelines and taking prompt action can contain the ASF outbreak,” the group said.

“We would like to inform the consuming public that this disease does not affect humans as it is not zoonotic so it is safe to eat local pork,” the group added.