The Philippines is temporarily closing its borders to pork and pork-based products from eight countries following reports of an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, especially in China.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, in a Facebook post, said pork and pork-based products from the eight countries will be confiscated at points of entry. These will be destroyed within 24 hours after interception.
The eight countries are Belgium, China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.
“While the country has taken steps to address the newest threat to livestock and poultry as early as August of this year, the DA through the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) will be implementing more stringent measures,” Piñol stated.
The ASF is described as a "contagious, untreatable and often fatal virus”, whose future mutations could affect humans.
Piñol said he issued a Department of Agriculture Memorandum Order on Friday, December 28, to implement the following measures to protect the Philippine hog sector:
1. Establishment of foot baths in all entry points of the country, including those arriving via cruise ships;
2. Mandatory inspection, in coordination with other concerned agencies, of all vessels docking in Philippine Ports with meat supplies and fishing boats returning from the West Philippine Sea because of reports of bartering of sea products with imported meat;
3. Close coordination by the DA-BAI with the Bureau of Customs at all international air and sea ports for the conduct of rigid inspection for the checked in and hand-carried luggages of all incoming passengers from ASF-affected; and
4. Confiscation and destruction of all pork products coming from ASF-affected countries within 24 hours after interception.
The DA Secretary also called on hog raisers in the country to volunteer as Deputized Quarantine Officers “so that together we will be able to implement the safeguards to protect the industry which is the source of livelihood of millions of Filipino farmers”.
“I also would like to ask for understanding from our incoming passengers and returning Filipinos for the inconvenience that these measures might cause,” Piñol said. (Ventures Cebu)