THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is asking courier companies to stop accepting orders to deliver meat products from African Swine Fever (ASF)-affected countries.

In Memorandum Circular No. 7, series of 2019 issued June 3, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the DA is “enjoining all courier services companies to stop accepting canned meat and meat products for shipment if the products came from… ASF affected countries.”

The 18 affected countries are Belgium, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, Zambia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and North Korea.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered a temporary ban on the entry of meat and meat products from ASF-affected countries. FDA Order No. 2018-133 also authorizes the recall and seizure of imported pork from these countries, in response to Department of Health (DOH)-FDA Order No. 2019-046.

In a news conference, Mr. Piñol said that he will be submitting to President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday a request for a three-month suspension of pork imports from countries at risk of also contracting ASF.

ASF high-risk areas are those “contiguous to countries which already have ASF cases.”

“I’ve been cautioned (about such a measure) but my answer is what if we are right? Ang problema natin diyan (Our problem with ASF is it’s) irreversible,” he said.

He also noted that there will also be emergency procurement of x-ray machines to inspect all arriving packages.

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) has also agreed to help prevent the entry of ASF by requiring vessels and airlines to certify that they carry no meat from affected countries.

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) was also instructed to deploy 15 dogs trained to detect meat to all ports of entry — Vincent Mariel P. Galang