Fri, 05 Mar 2021

Bohol still ASF-free; PCG to deploy sniffing dogs in ports

Philippine Information Agency
23 Feb 2021, 18:38 GMT+10

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Feb. 11 (PIA) -- Bohol is still free from African Swine Fever (ASF).

To keep it this way, the Provincial ASF Executive Committee will use watch dogs at ports to sniff out small amounts of pork meat, raw or processed pork that could be brought in by passengers crossing from Leyte.

ADVISE TO SHIPPERS. Veterinary Quarantine Services Inspector Dr. Maria Eleonor Abisado has asked shippers to deny undocumented pork meat and processed products becuse they would be shipped back or disposed of at the pier so as to make sure no such vector for ASF makes it way to Bohol. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Provincial veterinarian Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, during a stakeholders' online consultation this week, bared the possibility that locally stranded individuals (LSI) from Leyte and Mindanao could bring in cooked adobo, or any pork-based food to eat during the trip, not knowing that such act would be illegal in Bohol.

The problem with this and with the pandemic is that port authorities and quarantine personnel would have no way to find out if an entering passenger LSI or APOR is carrying cooked or raw pork due to physical distancing restrictions.

In view of this, the Philippine Coast Guard in Bohol is implementing starting Feb. 15, a K9 sniffing dog at the port of Ubay and possibly Jagna to screen the passengers' hand carried items.

The Department of Agriculture's Veterinary and Quarantine Services officer in Bohol, Dr. Marielle Abisado, has urged shippers for Bohol to simple deny meat shipments that do not have the necessary documents.

Shippers know that it will be screened in Bohol and it will either be shipped back to its origin or disposed here, said Abisado.

As early as 2019, Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap has issued Executive Order Nos. 7, 8 and 22, series of 2019, putting up a temporary ban on the entry of live hogs, pork meat related products whether raw, cooked or processed, and frozen boar semen from Luzon and Mindanao.

According to the provincial veterinarian, Bohol produces about 50,501 metric tons of pork meat, of which about 82 percent is contributed by around 50,000 hog growers and producers who are mostly backyard raisers.

During the ASF stakeholders' online meeting on Feb. 8, 2021, Lapiz appraised Boholanos on the current situation and the impending threat of the swine disease in Bohol.

She reiterated what the governor has been calling for: tighter border security measures, keep bio-security measures, and further spread useful information to allow small hog growers to be aware of the consequences of unreported cases of suspected ASF.

AFS has already hit 10 regions, 34 provinces, and 332 municipalities in the country.

Earlier reports of the outbreak of the highly fatal hog disease in Abuyog, Leyte sent the Bohol ASF Executive Committee into heightened alarm, considering that the affected province, the first province hit in the Visayas, is just one boat ride away from Bohol. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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