ZAMBOANGA CITY: This southern Philippine port city remains free from the African swine fever (ASF) virus mainly because of its tight watch on the entry of processed pork products and meat. Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco said random and surprised inspections in public markets and grocery stores, barter trade centers, and supermarkets have ensured no contaminated canned pork products enter the city. Climaco said the Task Force Karne and the Food and Drugs Administration and the Department of Agriculture conduct inspections as part of the strict implementation of Executive Order 500-2019 and the national ban on the importation, distribution and sale of all processed pork products from countries infected with the ASF such as China. The task force is composed of representatives from the City Veterinary Office, National Meat Inspection Service, Task Force Ordinance, and Business Permits and Licensing Division. Climaco said strict protocols would be observed to monitor and regulate the entry of hog and pork products here as a measure against the contagious animal disease. Dr. Arnedo Agbayani, assistant city veterinarian, said live hogs and pork products that do not have proper paperwork and certification would not be allowed entry. “These requirements include the health certificate and the veterinarian shipping permit, a document which all city and provincial veterinarians have been directed to provide in light of the ASF scare in Luzon,” he said. The ASF outbreak started in July in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan before spreading in other parts of Luzon.