A HOUSE leader has proposed to the government a moratorium on the importation of all pork products.
According to House Deputy Speaker and ABONO party-list Rep. Conrado Estrella, the moratorium is inevitable as the local hog industry has started to absorb over P1 billion in losses since the African Swine Flu virus entered the country.
“I think it is now time for government to impose a moratorium on pork product importation until we have completely cleared our pig farms of the ASF threat. We have to stop the bleeding before it’s too late,” said Estrella, in an interview.
However, the moratorium could be lifted as soon as the ASF has been totally eradicated.
The Committee on Agriculture and Food will continue with its probe of the ASF problem but so far Estella’s Lower House colleagues have aired support for the proposal to stop local meat processing firms and distributors from purchasing imported pork.
Estrella said it is definite that ASF did not come from local hogs but from imported animals.
“We have sufficient supply to cover the needs of every Filipino. Visayas and Mindanao can be tapped to supply affected meat processors who do not want to source pork from Luzon,” Estrella said.
The House leader said that Visayas and Mindanao pig farms are still ASF-free.
Earlier agriculture and health authorities disclosed that test results of processed meat samples tested positive for ASF.
“Now we ask, where did the ASF virus-infected meat samples come from? Certainly, not from local hog raisers,” Estrella said.
However, notwithstanding the various campaigns assuring Filipinos that ASF does not have any effect on human health, many continue to doubt the safety of pork.
Estrella has been making the rounds in various Region I localities to help government assure the public about the safety of pork sourced locally. Their group was expected to join a lechon-eating festival today in San Quintin, Pangasinan.