Bohol village chief, wife charged for transport of pork products from Cebu
TAGBILARAN CITY—By bringing in pork products from Cebu, a village chief of Tubigon town in Bohol and his wife were charged for violating a local law preventing the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).
Epifanio Balbin of Barangay Poblacion Centro in Tubigon and his wife Maria Sol were charged on Friday before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court-Tubigon-Clarin, also in Tubigon, for violating Provincial Ordinance No. 2022-11 in a complaint filed by lawyer Handel Lagunay, the provincial legal officer, and Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, the provincial veterinarian.
The complaint claimed that the couple allegedly “knowingly and unlawfully” violated the provisions of Provincial Ordinance No. 2022-011, or the Revised Bohol African Swine Fever Prevention Ordinance of 2022, which prohibits the entry into the province of hogs and pork products from areas affected by ASF, like Cebu.
In her complaint-affidavit, Lapiz narrated that at 4 a.m. on June 13, she was contacted by Dr. Maria Eleanore Abisado, the provincial veterinary quarantine officer of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry National Veterinary Quarantine Services Division, regarding the unlawful shipment of two boxes containing assorted pork products from Mandaue City, Cebu, to Tubigon.
Abisado informed Lapiz that Maria Sol was the shipper and consignee of vegetable cargoes that included two undeclared boxes of assorted pork products, including pork blood, pork chorizo, pork chops and pork mascara, weighing around 100 to 120 kilos.
The boxes aboard MV Lite Ferry 23 were confiscated after a thorough inspection by the veterinary quarantine inspectors of the ASF Task Force at the port of Tubigon.
Lapiz said the shipment was in violation of Provincial Ordinance No. 2022-011 since the province of Cebu was still under the “infected zone” for ASF.
The ASF Task Force members filled out the Notice of Violation dated June 13, issued against Maria Sol, but her husband, Epifanio, who was present during the inspection, hurriedly left the port area and refused to sign the notice.
The notice of violation was sent to the Balbin couple for signature and payment of fines but they declined to acknowledge it nor pay P1,000 in fine, the complaint said.
Bohol province, on orders of Gov. Aris Aumentado, has been strictly enforcing the ASF protocols to prevent the spread of the highly contagious pig disease into the province’s lucrative hog industry.
Just recently, at least 87 pigs died in Purok 6 of Barangay San Vicente in Pilar town.
Bohol is one of the leading pork producers in the country with a hog industry valued at P6 billion. The province has been ASF-free since 2019 until the detection last week of infected hogs in Pilar. INQ