The partial lifting of the total ban on pork and pork-based supply in Palawan is helping address the increased local demand for meat products, particularly from the tourism sector, according to the Provincial Veterinary Office (ProVet).
Dr. Darius Mangcucang of ProVet also said that even with the partial lifting of ban, their office is ensuring the safe quality of meat products entering the province, and compliant to the permit provided by National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS).
The executive order took effect in the month of April and is still implemented to respond to the needs of incoming tourists in the province. It is the amendment of the executive order released in March 2020, wherein a total ban was implemented on the entry of live pigs, pig meats, and other pork-based processed products which failed to undergo treatment and quarantine processes required by NMIS.
“Sa ngayon, wala na complaint o angal ‘yong mga taga-hotel natin (sa supply). Hindi naman makakapasok (ang pork and pork-based products) kapag hindi legit ang permit nila. Meron pa rin kaming mga naco-confiscate na walang mga permit, iba galing Luzon,” he said.
The supplies only come from green zone areas or are considered African Swine Fever (ASF)-free areas are allowed to enter or be imported to Palawan. Mangcucang believed that it could help the economic activities while securing the safety of the local hog industry.
The country has already recorded about a 38 percent reduction in national swine inventory impacting the livelihood and agriculture economy due to ASF. The province of Palawan remained ASF-free since the outbreak started in 2019.
Aside from farms, ProVet also gets blood samples in slaughterhouses wherein hogs from different barangays are delivered. The samples are tested in the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Palawan.
“Sa slaughterhouse kumukuha kami (ng blood sample) kasi sa slughterhouse, ‘yong mga baboy na dinadala diyan ay galing sa iba-ibang barangay. Niri-record namin kung anong barangay galing itong baboy na ito, kung sino may-ari. Ang blood sample ay may number, may code para kung ang number na ‘yon ay nag-positive madi-detect namin kung saang barangay,” he said.
The shipment of pork and pork-related products shall follow protocols including writing a letter of intent to the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian. The letter should indicate details such as the products to be shipped, quantity of products, date of shipment, purpose of shipment, and the final destination.
After approval of the request, certification must also secure from the Provincial Veterinary Office of the province of origin to certify it as an ASF-green zone. There must also be an NMIS certification that the facility where fresh and frozen meat is prepared and stored is ASF-free.
Documents required under DA administrative order no. 05 series of 2019 must also be secured and be presented to the Bureau of Anima Industry for review and confirmation.
Mangcucang added that ProVet also monitors the online selling of processed products coming to the province as reported in December 2021.
“Isa pang problema natin ay online selling galing sa ibang lugar ‘yan. Iyang mga online selling kasi sabi ng BAI ay pwede na mga botcha, hot meat na dapat ‘yan ay hindi tinatangkilik. Minsan ‘yan mga isang box ng ham lalo na noong December ang daming naglipana,” he said.