In this file:
· DA bans entry of pork, pork-based products from 13 countries
· 1M kilos Belgian pork entered PH despite import ban says agri group
· African swine fever entry feared
· EDITORIAL - Keeping out a virus
DA bans entry of pork, pork-based products from 13 countries
By Lilybeth Ison, Philippine News Agency
January 4, 2019
The Philippine News Agency is a web-based newswire service of the Philippine government under the supervision of the News and Information Bureau (NIB) of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).
MANILA -- Due to the threat of a baffling hog disease that has killed millions of pigs all over the world and whose effect on human health is still unknown, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has banned the import of pork and pork-based products from 13 countries.
The DA has imposed strict quarantine protocols to prevent the entry of pork and pork-based products from Belgium, China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, and Zambia.
“The world hog industry is faced with a threat by a disease called the African Swine Fever (ASF). The threat is real and it could affect an industry which benefits millions of families, mostly small backyard farmers, who raise 15 million heads of hogs every year,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said in a Facebook post Friday.
Given the fact that these countries are inter-connected in one big land mass which forms part of Europe and Asia, Piñol said there is simply no way to ensure that other countries will not be affected as well.
The Philippines stands out as one of the few countries in the world that is free from animal diseases, such as the Foot and Mouth Disease.
The entry of any disease into the country, especially the ASF, whose effect on human health is still being studied, could devastate the country’s hog industry.
As such, the DA chief has ordered the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and other DA concerned agencies to implement mitigating measures, such as the establishment of foot baths in all entry points of the country, including cruise ships; mandatory inspection of vessels docking Philippine ports; and confiscation and destruction of all pork products within 24 hours coming from ASF-affected countries.
Returning residents and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially from countries affected by the ASF, have been advised not to bring in pork or pork-based products, including ham, bacon and others.
They have also been asked to serve as “Volunteer Quarantine Officers” and check if other passengers on board their flight or vessels are carrying pork or pork-based products and report this to the Government Quarantine Officers upon arrival in the Philippines.
In 2017, the country imported a total of 4,177,189 kg. of pork and pork products.
For 2018, some 9,744,435 kg. from Belgium, and 69,010 kg. from Hungary were recorded to have entered the country. (PNA)
1M kilos Belgian pork entered PH despite import ban says agri group
by UNTV News (Philippines)
January 7th, 2019
QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Agricultural group, Samahang Industriya Ng Agrikultura (Sinag) revealed on Monday the entry of over 1 million kilos of Belgian pork into the country from October to November 2018.
Sinag president Rosendo So said, their report is based on the documents they obtained from the Bureau of Customs.
On September 17, 2018, the Department of Agriculture released a memorandum order prohibiting the importation of pork from Belgium due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the said country.
Sinag expressed concern over the possible impact of the imported meat on the local swine industry in case the ASF virus reaches country.
The Department of Agriculture on the other hand assured that there is nothing to worry about because importers of the frozen meat have followed the guidelines.
Even though the imported pork meats arrived after the release of the import ban, their slaughter/process date was before August 25, 2018.
In total, over 1.4 million kilos of Belgian pork meat have entered the country from October to November.
Other than Belgium, it is also prohibited to import pork from...
African swine fever entry feared
By: Karl R. Ocampo, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 05, 2019
Hog raisers are appealing to the government to implement stringent measures to prevent the entry into the country of African swine fever (ASF) which has spread to parts of Europe and Asia, warning that an outbreak of the disease could wipe out the local hog industry.
Quarantine officers axed
They issued the plea after Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol sacked quarantine officers of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the country’s busiest gateway, for failing to establish protocols against the virus.
“The whole quarantine group assigned at Naia will be relieved… for their failure to comply with an earlier order I issued to institute quarantine protocols to prevent the entry of pork products from areas affected by the African swine fever,” Piñol said on his Facebook page.
“The relief of the whole quarantine team at Naia should send a clear message to members of the Department of Agriculture family that we cannot take administrative directives for granted,” he added.
BAI director Ronnie Domingo said in a press conference that the quarantine officers who were relieved from their posts would be investigated.
The DA has issued circulars banning the entry of imported pork and pork products from countries affected by the virus since the disease began to spread across countries worldwide.
Foot baths ...
EDITORIAL - Keeping out a virus
The Philippine Star
January 7, 2019
The entire quarantine team of the Bureau of Animal Industry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was relieved last week for failure to implement quarantine protocols to prevent the entry of pork products affected by African Swine Fever or ASF.
The Department of Agriculture had ordered the protocols to be put in place, including the installation of footbaths to ensure that arriving passengers will not bring in the virus that causes ASF, which is currently spreading in China.
While ASF does not pose health risks to humans, the disease has been blamed for the recent deaths of both wild and domestic pigs in 13 countries in Asia and Europe. Agriculture officials and hog raisers alike are worried that the virus could decimate hogs in the Philippines and endanger the food supply. Approximately 95 percent of the country’s pork supply is locally sourced.
Hog raisers lauded the quick orders issued by agriculture officials to prevent the entry of ASF, but expressed concern that the same speed will not be seen in the implementation. The animal quarantine team at the NAIA reportedly failed to quickly install the footbaths because of “procurement issues.” Hog raisers said footbaths could also be missing from other international ports of entry across the archipelago.
Preventing the entry of a virus is only as good as it weakest link...