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Gov Yap sets conditions on reopening purchases of pork from Luzon

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CEBU CITY — Bohol Governor Arthur Yap on Wednesday said he is willing to open up his province to pork and pork products from Luzon under certain conditions.

In a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Yap said he will only allow pork products from Luzon to enter the province “as long as I have a guarantee letter that the government will compensate Bohol for the culling and disposal of affected dead hogs from ASF (African swine fever).”

Yap said he also wants backyard raisers to get compensation “properly and immediately upon proof of damages” in case the hog disease enters his province.

“If that can be reflected in the budget and the DA (Department of Agriculture) will give me a signed guarantee with a mechanism releasing the payment for compensation then we are ready to open up Bohol,” he said.

“Until that time, I hope people understand that under the general welfare clause of our laws and my powers under the Local Government Code, I am duty-bound to protect my constituents from the harm and damages to life and property,” he added.

Yap’s statement came amid the order issued by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año addressed to local chief executives, excluding processed meat products from the ban on pork and pork-related products from Luzon as a way to prevent the spread of ASF in provinces outside Luzon.

Año’s order came after the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) claimed it may incur PHP50 billion to PHP60 billion in losses if LGUs would continue to ban pork products from Luzon.

Aside from Yap, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has also been firm in standing with the anti-ASF task force she formed last August in imposing a total ban on live hogs and pork products from Luzon.

This, despite a call from DA Secretary William Dar convincing the governor to reconsider her decision.

According to Yap, there is “no need to be emotional, get personal or be sensitive about the matter. We are all friends and colleagues in this industry we love.”

“We have only one country to protect. Let us understand our constraints and help mitigate our fears with actual solutions and stay clear from finger-pointing and name-calling,” he said. (PNA)