DA-6 monitors online sellers of pork products

The Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas (DA-6) is monitoring online sellers to ensure the sources of their pork products are free from African swine fever (ASF).

Dr. Jonic Natividad, the chief of the regulatory division of the DA 6 and at the same time focal person of the ASF Task Force, said on Friday they were able to track an online seller of bagnet, chicharon, and Vigan longganisa, among others, found to have bought the products from an affected area.

“I will refer this to the ASF Task of the city. This one is based in Alta Tierra (a village in Iloilo City). Vigan is in Ilocos Sur that is still affected with ASF,” Natividad said in an interview.

He added that probably the seller was able to buy the products at a lesser price.

Natividad lamented that amid the massive drive to keep the region free from ASF, there are still unscrupulous online sellers who continue to get products from ASF-hit provinces, the reason why they also check the chat rooms of online selling groups.

Back in Oct. 2019, Mayor Jerry P. Treñas signed Executive Order number 99 for the temporary ban of live pigs, hot carcasses, pork, and its by-products from areas positive for ASF.

Executive Order No.9 signed by the mayor on Jan. 26, 2021 also prohibited the entry of livestock carriers and hog vans coming from ASF areas if they have no disinfection certificate from their point of origin or port of exit.

Meanwhile, Natividad added that on January 31, the animal control checkpoint in Caticlan Jetty Port in Aklan also intercepted a Ceres bus from Metro Manila transporting several boxes of various pork-based products sourced from Batangas.

“It has been reprimanded. We will be filing a complaint to their head office because they have been informed about it,” he said.

Aklan has an ordinance banning the entry of pork and its by-products sourced from ASF-affected areas.

He said that their quarantine office could not keep track of all the shipments because aside from public transport, there are also private vehicles that transport the prohibited products.

“We need to educate the public on this since we could not do this on our own,” he added.

Western Visayas has been massively campaigning to keep the region free from ASF to protect its PHP20 billion hog industry. (PNA)