The Province’s legislative body approved the anti-ASF ordinance unanimously last Monday, September 16. It will strengthen Gov. Garcia’s Executive Order No. 13, as amended by EO Order No. 13-A which created the Provincial ASF Task Force; EO Nos. 14 and 15 that prevents the incursion of domestic and wild hogs, pork meat products and by-products into the Province of Cebu from areas affected by the ASF Virus.
Provincial Board Member Victoria “Tata” Corominas-Toribio of the third district authored the newly approved ordinance, with Board Members Edsel Galeos and Raul Bacaltos as co-authors.
The policy aims to protect Cebu’s P10.982-billion swine industry, wherein over 150,000 families are relying from. The industry does not just comprise the hog growers but also includes corn farmers, hotels and restaurants, agrivet procedures and suppliers, commercial and backyard swine farmers, among others.
Section 7 of the ordinance enumerates acts that are criminally and administratively liable. These include: bringing in to Cebu any domestic or wild hogs without Veterinary Health Certificate issued by the Veterinarian at the point of the origin; engaging in trading and commerce of pork without the Meat Inspection Certificate issued by National Meat Inspection Service; selling processed pork meat without License to Operate issued by Food and Drug Administration; and bringing in of boar semen without Veterinary Health Certificate issued by the Veterinarian at the point of the origin.
Government officials will face administrative liability if they violate the provisions of the ordinance, or when their negligence results in the entry of infected hogs, pork meat, its products and by-products into the jurisdiction of the Province of Cebu.
Private individuals who participate, “in conspiracy, as co-principals, accomplices or accessories, with government officials and/or employees to commit acts” violating the ordinance will be subject to the same penal liabilities as the public officials and employees.
The places mentioned in Garcia’s executive orders were China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, Belgium, Hongkong, North Korea, Laos, and Germany, as well as some places in Luzon -- Bulacan and Rizal.
Gov. Garcia’s new executive order issued today imposes a total ban on the entry of frozen pork and pork-related products from Luzon after the Bureau of Animal Industry declared an outbreak of ASF affecting live hogs in Bulacan, Rizal, Marikina, and Quezon City. The ban will be in effect until further notice, superseding her previous orders of a 100-day ban.
Products that have already been shipped to Cebu prior to the order will be shipped back to the suppliers so they can take responsibility in their disposal as stated in the Sanitary Code.
At a press conference today, Garcia disclosed that the Cities of Cebu and Mandaue are imposing a total ban on live hogs, pork and pork related products from Luzon.
“Mayor Jonas Cortes of Mandaue City and Mayor Edgar Labella of Cebu City already imposed a total ban, but they can only impose that within their own territorial jurisdiction. This is now in support of the total ban being imposed by Mandaue City and Cebu City because the ports of entry of these banned products are in the Province of Cebu, especially our sea ports,” said Garcia.
The governor was scheduled to meet on the evening of September 18 all establishments that are selling frozen pork products.
She said Cebu is instituting very strict measures, pointing out that authorities cannot be too careful as far as the ASF is concerned.
Garcia had asked the Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) to cooperate by submitting their inventory of all pork and pork-related products to determine if these came from the prohibited areas.
“Sa over 100 ka myembro, I was disappointed to learn only three submitted: Bai hotel, Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City and Quest Hotel. This is why I said I was giving them a deadline to submit their inventories at 5 p.m. today, because those that fail after this afternoon, we will supply the list to the media sa mga uncooperative nga hotels and restaurants,” she said.
As early as August 6, Taiwan already sent hints that the Philippines is suspected of an ASF infection. But because the DA could not immediately confirm the viral infection in a categorical matter, Garcia took the cudgels and issued EOs 13, 13-A, 14 and 15 as proactive, stringent measures to control damage that it might bring to Cebu's hograisers and its P10.9-billion industry. (Mylen Manto / Eleanor Valeros)