Naia quarantine group relieved for failure to block banned pork products
MANILA, Philippines —Due to its failure to follow protocols to prevent the entry of pork products from areas affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF), Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced that he will relieve the entire Quarantine Group of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) effective 5 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 4.
“The whole Quarantine Group assigned at the country’s main airport of entry, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, will be relieved effective 5 p.m. today 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 in a statement.
“I will issue the order today even as I am here in the Bicol Region personally assessing the damage of Tropical Depression Usman and ensuring immediately delivery of interventions,” he added.
Piñol noted that he will also direct the Department of Agriculture’s Internal Administrative Service (IAS) to conduct an investigation and establish whether the officers could be charged with dereliction of duty.
On New Year’s Eve, Piñol ordered a ban on the entry of pork and pork-based products from eight countries to prevent the spread of ASF in piggeries in the country. The DA ordered a ban on the entry of pork products from Belgium, China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.
ASF is not harmful to humans but causes deadly hemorrhagic fever in domesticated pigs and wild boar.
Piñol noted that the “directive was for all Quarantine Stations to establish Footbaths in all entry points of the country, the interception and confiscation of all pork-based products.”
However, Piñol said he received reports “quoting agriculture advocate Rosendo So as saying that he saw no such Quarantine Procedures at the country’s main airport.”
“As Secretary of Agriculture who is in charge of the implementation of these measures, I apologize to the stakeholders of the hog industry for this administrative lapse,” he said.
“While I have issued the needed directives to implement the Quarantine Procedures, I have to admit that there are still weak links in the Department which need to be corrected,” he added. /muf
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