Cebu City expands ban on pigs, pork products

TO PROTECT itself against African swine fever (ASF), Cebu City has widened its ban on the entry of pigs and pork products from just Carcar City, where the ASF virus has been detected, to include the rest of the areas in the first district and parts of three other Cebu districts.

City Agriculturist Joey Baclayon announced this on Thursday, March 9, 2023, while assuring that Cebu City would have enough pork supply for a month in the event that it would have to rely solely on itself for the supply.

The ASF virus was detected last March 1 in blood samples of hogs in a slaughterhouse in Carcar in southern Cebu, prompting the Cebu City Government last March 7 to ban the entry of live hogs, pork products and byproducts from Carcar City.

But on Thursday, Baclayon said Cebu City would no longer accept live hogs, pork products and byproducts not only from Carcar City, the infected zone (red), but also from the buffer (pink), surveillance (yellow) and protected (light green) zones in Cebu, as illustrated in the ASF map of the Cebu City Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF).

Buffer zone

As of March 6, 2023, in the buffer zone are the towns of San Fernando and Sibonga in the first district and Barili and Aloguinsan of the third district. In the surveillance zone are the City of Naga (first district), and the towns of Argao (second district), Pinamungajan (third district) and Dumanjug (seventh district). In the protected zone are Minglanilla (first district); Dalaguete (second district); Toledo City (third district); and Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal and Badian (seventh district).

Under the DVMF map, Talisay City is in the free zone (dark green), meaning it remains free from the virus. But Baclayon said Cebu City was also banning hogs and pork products from Talisay because as of March 9, it had already been placed under the protected zone.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the infected zone (red) has confirmed cases of ASF, while the buffer zone (pink) covers areas adjacent to the infected zone.

The surveillance zone (yellow) are high risk areas because of the dense population of swine and volume of trade of pigs, pork and pork products. The protected zone (light green) are areas with no ASF cases and considered low-risk but are contiguous with the yellow zone.

Enough supply

Baclayon said there are about 5,000 pigs in Cebu City, mostly in upland barangays that are covered by the City Agriculture Department. These pigs are raised in the backyard or on a farm.

Pork vendor Estela Acbayan believes that pork supply will decline in the coming weeks, especially after the Holy Week in early April 9. Currently, a kilo of pork costs P300 to P320 at the Carbon Public Market.

The Office of the City Markets led by Wynne Cenas is strictly enforcing the monitoring of pork products in the markets by requesting documents from vendors or stallholders showing that the meat on display was butchered in a slaughterhouse in Cebu City.


It’s hard to tell how big a hit Carcar’s economy will get from ASF.

But Carcar City City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete said Thursday that according to the city veterinarian, the city’s hog industry rakes in between P120 million and P150 million annually.

This figure, Poblete said, does not include yet the value-added income in terms of job creation.

The entire hog industry of Cebu is worth P11 billion.

No threat to humans

To calm public concerns following the confirmation of ASF cases in the province, the Department of Health (DOH) released a health advisory on Wednesday saying that ASF is a disease among pigs only and not a threat to human health.

Experts say ASF is transmitted only when pigs ingest uncooked or undercooked contaminated pork products.

On Thursday, DOH 7 Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas said consuming pork and processed meat remains safe as long as these are bought from reliable vendors and cooked properly before consuming.

Movement guidelines

At the Capitol, Provincial Veterinary Office head Dr. Mary Rose Vincoy said hog breeders and traders in the municipalities and cities within the green zone can still supply live pigs for slaughter, breeding, genetic materials and frozen products to areas in the red zone.

But hog industry stakeholders must first secure all the necessary documents and follow the guidelines in the movement of live pigs in the colored zones, Vincoy said in a meeting Thursday with representatives of the veterinary office from the affected LGUs.

Through Department of Agriculture (DA) Administrative Order (AO) 2, Series of 2022, she explained the guidelines on how swine and pork products must be transported between the colored zones.

She added that the transport of pigs must start from the green zone going towards the areas under the yellow, pink and red zones.

“It should be going in, the yellow to pink zone, to red so they can provide to other areas but not going out,” Vincoy said.

Hog breeders and traders must secure a Veterinary Health Certificate and a backyard swine farm registration called the Pink Form for the local transport of pigs within the Province of Cebu.

But under DA AO 2, s. 2022, live pig traders must present the Animal Welfare Registration Certificate; Veterinary Health Certificate; Livestock, poultry products and by products Transport Carrier Registration; Livestock, poultry products and by products Handlers License; and Certificate of Free Status for ASF. Testing should be done every six months thereafter to build evidence of surveillance.(TPT, CTL, LMY, KJF, KAL)