BACOLOD City – Local authorities said an estimated P1.1 million worth of “siopao” or pork buns was intercepted at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation port.
Dr. Ryan Janoya, head of the Animal Health and Meat Inspection Services Division of the Provincial Veterinary Office, said the Provincial African Swine Fever Task Force-Negros Occidental seized a total of 8,640 packs of “siopao” or 51,840 pieces of buns loaded in a container van that came from Mandaue City, Cebu on Wednesday.
While the shipment came from Cebu, the manufacturing address stated on their documents is in Quezon province in Luzon, from which Negros Occidental has imposed a ban of live swine, pork and pork products since September due to the African swine fever (ASF) scare, Janoya said.
The packs of siopao were then shipped back to Cebu.
On Wednesday, the task force passed a resolution extending the full implementation of Negros Occidental’s existing 90-day ban of pork and pork products processed or manufactured in northern Philippines. This is despite the Department of the Interior and Local Government memorandum circular, urging local government units to lift the ban on processed pork which are registered with the Food and Drugs Administration.
The task force, in a resolution, said it will reconsider the DILG’s recommendation “as it is inimical to the food security program of the Province of Negros Occidental.” But the ban stays as it has yet to receive a copy of the memorandum, the task force added.
It added that any premature lifting of the existing ban will pose serious and irreversible damage to the P6-billion swine industry of Negros Occidental.
Officials said the local hog industry of Western Visayas has been losing around P300 million monthly following the outbreak of ASF virus in some areas in Luzon.
Aside from Negros Occidental, Benguet, Cebu, Bohol, and Pampanga are among the provinces which banned the entry of live hogs and even pork products shipped from areas affected by the swine fever. Meanwhile, a conditional ban is in place in other local government units.
ASF only affects pigs, but humans can carry the virus and spread the disease. The virus quickly spreads in an affected hog, which could lead to its sudden death.(With a report from CNN Philippines/PN)