DA reminds airline passengers not to import produce

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hogs pigs livestock

THE Department of Agriculture warned air travelers not to violate quarantine rules against the import of fresh fruit, plants and meat, citing the threat to the hog and banana industries in particular.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a social media post on Wednesday: ”Right now, African Swine Fever is threatening the country’s hog industry and we have to institute strict Quarantine Protocols,” Mr. Piñol said in a Facebook post.

“The Philippine banana industry now is facing a serious problem because of Fusarium (Wilt) or Panama Disease,” Mr. Piñol added.

Mr. Piñol said Panama Disease was able to enter the Philippines due to “complacent” quarantine officers.

“How do you think it got here? That is a result of the complacency of Quarantine Officers in the past,” Mr. Piñol said.

“Please don’t bring in the above-mentioned products without first securing the needed sanitary permits,” Mr. Piñol added.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) ordered last year the establishment of foot baths at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and barred the entry of pork products from China and other countries hit by ASF.

“Over the last few weeks, following the strict implementation of Quarantine Rules against the entry of fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, meat and meat products, friends of President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte and mine as well, have asked for consideration so that they could pass through Quarantine Officers,” Mr. Piñol said.

“We are begging for your understanding because we cannot exempt anybody from the rules,” Mr. Piñol said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio