Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » Preemptive steps against entry of African swine fever virus strengthened

The Bureau of Customs-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (BOC-NAIA) and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) are in close coordination to prevent entry into the Philippines of products from countries affected with African swine fever virus.

BOC-NAIA and BAI on January 7 held an inter-agency meeting to discuss joint actions against the possible entry of pork meat and pork meat products from African swine fever virus-affected countries that include China, Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.

Last September and October, cases of dumpling and hotdog products containing contaminated pork meat were also recorded in Korea and Japan, BOC said in a statement.

The National Federation of Hog Farmers recently appealed to the government to implement stringent measures to prevent the entry into the Philippines of the African swine fever virus as an outbreak could wipe out the local hog industry. The appeal was issued after Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol sacked quarantine officers of BAI assigned at NAIA for failing to establish protocols against the virus.

About 95% of the country’s pork supply is locally sourced, and while the virus does not pose any health risks to humans, there is no known vaccine to prevent its spread and destruction of the local livestock production.

According to BAI, an outbreak of the virus could affect more than 40 million live hogs/pigs in the Philippines and could destroy the country’s P2-billion swine industry.

BAI had earlier banned the entry of pork and pork-based products from African swine fever-affected countries such as China, Hungary, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, and Zambia.

BAI and BOC were also instructed to inspect checked-in and hand-carried luggage of all passengers coming from the affected areas.

To safeguard against the epidemic, BAI officials and NAIA district collector Carmelita Talusan initiated more briefings and information dissemination to customs frontliners at NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to strengthen their vigilance.

BOC-NAIA will continuously coordinate closely with regulating agencies to secure the borders against the entry and exit of prohibited, regulated goods to protect the swine industry and livelihood in the Philippines.

BOC said safe meat products accompanied by import permit or sanitary and phyto-sanitary import clearance are the only ones qualified for release from ports.

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