Governor Gwendolyn Garcia stands by her Executive Order (EO) No. 8 on the six-month export ban on live hogs and sows, saying that this has not violated any provision in the National Zoning and Movement Plan for African Swine Fever (ASF).
She clarified this in a press conference Tuesday, February 2 after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged local government units (LGUs) to align local pork policies with that of the national government.
In a memorandum circular, DILG Officer-in-Charge Bernardo Florece, Jr. told LGUs to strictly follow national policies on the movement of cargo as stated in the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) Resolution No. 14 and Presidential Administrative Order (AO) No. 22, series of 2020.
While Garcia acknowledges the need for an unimpeded flow of food and non-food cargo especially now that the country is facing a pandemic, she emphasized that there is a need to limit the movement of pigs as ASF is “deadlier” than Covid-19.
“Mas grabe na (ASF) makatakod kaysa sa Covid. Ug ang atong mortality rate sa Covid is less than 2%, mortality rate ani 100% in 5-7 days. In a week’s time, hurot na,” she said.
The governor also said that AO 22 or the National Zoning and Movement Plan only suggested actions to the ASF-free areas on the movement of pork and pork products.
AO 22 stated that Dark Green zones, or those free from ASF, “can receive fresh, chilled, frozen and semi-processed from Dark Green zones and ASF countries, and can receive fully-cooked canned products from Red zones or those infected with ASF.”
“Remember everything is suggested, not mandatory. Mahimo tang muhatag, mahimo tang mupalit,” Garcia said.
The governor further clarified that only live hogs and sows are prohibited from being sold outside the Province of Cebu, not pork meat and other pork-related products.
“We are not cutting off the supply of meat. We are prohibiting the transport of live hogs and sows,” she said.
The EO aims to protect the pig supply in the Province as demands from areas affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) continue to grow.
“Ato’ng giuna og tan-aw ang supply. Kung hutdon nana ug palit ang atong live hogs diri sa Cebu, runaway prices na pud ang presyo sa baboy nato. Kita nasa’y wala’y supply,” she said.
Mao na atong gibawal ron ang live hogs nga dili magawas. Gibawal usab nato ang anay kay maoy manganak. Unsaon man nato pag-repopulate kung mahurot na ang atong mga anay? Gusto mo mupalit ug baboy? Palit mo diri ug karne. Pwede pa man mo kapalit,” she continued.
The EO also aims to stabilize the market prices of pork and pork-related products that have recently gone up.
“At least ma-curtail, matagaan ug break gamay ang pagsaka sa presyo, dinhi pud sa Cebu, mao naman na ang reklamo ron, mahal na kaayo ang baboy,” Garcia explained.
In a meeting with the governor Friday, January 29, the Central Visayas Pork Producers' Cooperative (CeViPPCo) agreed to drop the pork prices to P170 to P180 a kilo from the current P190 to P195.
Currently, 39 provinces in the country have already been infected with the ASF virus. Only Regions 6 and 7 remain ASF-free.
The governor reiterated her primary objective is to protect the interest and welfare of Cebu.
“We cannot wait nga anha nalang ta manglihok ug wa na ta’y baboy. We have to preempt always, kinahanglan proactive ta kay first and foremost, we shall protect Cebu. Cebu and the Cebuanos first,” Garcia expressed. (Lianne Llesol)