House Deputy Speaker Conrado Estrella yesterday said the imposition of moratorium on the importation of all pork products in the country has become inevitable as the local hog industry has started to absorb over P1 billion in losses since the African Swine Flu virus entered the country.
Estrella, representative of the agriculture-based Abono partylist, said the moratorium may be lifted as soon as the ASF has been totally eradicated.
“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.
The House official said the House Committee on Agriculture and Food will continue with its probe on the ASF problem but so far his House colleagues have aired support for the proposal to stop local meat processing firms and distributors from purchasing imported pork.
“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,” stressed Estrella.
Visayas and Mindanao pig farms are still ASF-free, he said.
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.
The Pangasinan-based lawmaker lauded moves by various local government organizations to allay the fears of the public about the ASF.
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. (Ben Rosario)