Cebu urged to open ports for NegOr hogs

NEGROS Oriental Gov. Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria is pleading with Cebu Province to reopen its ports for hogs from the towns in Negros Oriental that are no longer affected by the African swine fever (ASF).

In an exclusive interview with SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, Sagarbarria said he wants to meet with Gov. Gwendolyn Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday, June 29, to discuss the possible opening of borders for the entry and exit of live hogs, genetic materials and pork meat products and byproducts to and from both provinces.

Sagarbarria said that hog farmers in Negros Oriental are struggling to sell and ship pork meat to other provinces and regions due to the ASF color-coding and mapping zone.

Sagarbarria will request Garcia to allow hog farmers from their towns with “green zone” status to ship their pigs to Cebu to prevent oversupply.

“I feel sorry for the hog farmers because the price of live weight per kilo in Negro Oriental is down to P90. That’s how cheap it is,” Sagarbarria told SunStar in Bisaya during the Regional Association of Development Information Officers 7 Conference at the Bai Hotel Cebu on Wednesday, June 28.

“Imagine ha i-compare ni sa P140.00 (in Cebu) ug sa P90, daku gyud og deperensya. Nanghilak na gyud ang uban kay naglibog kung unsaon pag-dispose,” he added.

(Imagine comparing the P140 per kilo of live hogs in Cebu to our P90, it’s a huge difference already.)

Major market

He noted that Cebu Province is one of Negros Oriental’s largest markets in terms of the hog industry, adding that pigs from his province are the top choice for lechon vendors in Cebu.

Last May, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) placed the towns of Dauin and Sibulan in Negros Oriental in the “red zone” under the color-coding classification following the detection of ASF.

This prohibits the two towns from exporting live hogs, pork meat and related products to other areas.

He said Negros Oriental supplied thousands of live hogs to Cebu before the ban.

Both top officials of Negros Oriental and Cebu have existing executive orders (EOs) banning the entry and shipment of live hogs, sows, piglets, boar semen, and pork and pork-related products for both provinces due to ASF.

On May 26, Garcia issued EO 13 imposing another “temporary ban” of live hogs, pork meat and related products from Negros Island for 60 days, or until July 25.

The late Negros Oriental governor Carlo Jorge Reyes signed EO 23 on April 18, extending the indefinite total ban of live hogs, pork meat and related products from Cebu.

To open up borders

Sagarbarria told SunStar Cebu that he is willing to collaborate with Cebu Province, as Garcia wants to open up borders with other local government units (LGUs) for the entry of live hogs, pork meat and related products even though the concerned LGUs are under the “red zone” classification of BAI.

He said that he is willing to fund biosecurity measures within the province’s entry points to accommodate the entry and shipment of live hogs, genetic materials and pork meat products to and from Cebu Province.

This was his response to Garcia’s early call on June 8, that she was considering opening the borders of Cebu Province to live hogs, boar semen, genetic materials, pork meats, pork-related products, and byproducts even from regions with ASF.

This will be done through a memorandum of agreement outlining the strict biosecurity measures to be adopted upon entry.