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Ormoc remains ASF-free; no shortage of pork yet

ORMOC CITY – This city remains free of the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) as of this report and as of the March 3 regular session of the 15th Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), which Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Tommy Serafica, confirmed.

There is no shortage of pork supply and pork products yet, too. But per the councilor, Ormoc has been warned of such a “shortage” scenario, especially now that Mindanao, which has been hit by the ASF most recently, is a main pork meat supplier of Ormoc.

The councilor, however, said that it is not a cause for alarm though, adding that the “shortage” scenario is advantageous to the city, as it will force Ormoc to raise its own hogs. “It’s time for us na makapangita ug buhi-onon diri sa syudad, para pud maka dag-dag sa pagpanginabuhi sa atong mga hog-raisers,” Hon. Serafica added during the session’s question hour.

To recall, the Philippines reported its first African Swine Fever outbreak last September 2019 in Manila backyard farms; then, ASF spread to other parts of the main island of Luzon. As the disease spread quickly, a few Luzon provinces were forced to impose a ban on pork and other pork-based products from ASF-affected areas. 

Sometime February 2020, when the country was tuned in to the coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Agriculture (DA) suddenly reported an outbreak in Mindanao, specifically Davao Occidental, which saw the culling of more or less 1,000 pigs. As a result, the provincial government of Davao Occidental imposed a “complete, but temporary, lock down”, prohibiting the transport of pigs and pork products from and into the province, according to a Reuters report.

Here in Ormoc, having no ASF yet, Sherwin Ycoy of Lorenzo’s Lechon, in a talk with EV Mail, shared that he does not believe Ormoc will have a “pork shortage” as his suppliers, anyway, are from Samar. However, he added, that in case a shortage of pork happens in the near future, they are willing to take the risk of stopping the business for a while or be forced to increase the prices of their lechon.

Meanwhile, Dexton Ponay of Jollypig meat shop shared that though their supplies come from their own hog farm in Brgy. Liloan, they are still actually afraid if the city does experience a “pork shortage”, adding that as of this time, their prices remain the same and he hopes that the ASF would go away soon. 

For an ordinary citizen of the pork-buying public, on the other hand, an anonymous source shared that if the city experiences a “pork shortage” that it would mean buying less pork and eating more vegetables and fish, but is hopeful that Ormoc will not experience such a problem. 

While meat vendors of the Ormoc City market, in a visit by EV Mail, shared that if there will be a “pork shortage” in Ormoc, they would have no other option but to look for “safe and ASF-free” supply because they need to cater to their buyers, but, they added, they will be forced to increase the prices of pork, if needed and if the government allows it.

The same opinion was shared by a few carenderia owners in the city, which EV Mail talked to, sharing again that they will continue catering to the needs of their customers, but might have to increase the prices of their pork-based meals, if needed.

Meanwhile, all are hoping that the city will not experience a “pork shortage” and if it does, they hope that the local government can provide for the means for them to be able to start raising their own pigs. 

According to the website, www.oie.int or the World Organisation for Animal Health, ASF is a “highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses”. By Mary Ann Reusora

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