Duterte approves inspection areas for imported pork
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the establishment of designated cold examinations areas (DCEAs) in major ports of the country to ensure that imported agricultural products would be examined fully.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary William Dar has confirmed that the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Luzon was caused by tainted pork from China that was smuggled into the country but intercepted at the port of Manila.
The plan to beef up inspection in the country’s ports—including the ports of Manila, Batangas, Subic, Cebu and Davao—was approved by Mr. Duterte at a Cabinet meeting last month.“What this means is that we will be able to have a 100-percent examination of all imported agricultural products, once these are completed,” the Department of Agriculture (DA) said in a statement.
It added, “While this may not be of any value in terms of operation at this point, the essence is that there is the political will to stop smuggling of agricultural products to the detriment of our farmers.”
Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Maronilla said in an interview that only a “close-open” examination was being done at the country’s entry points, where officials literally opened shipping containers loaded with agricultural products for a quick look and immediately closed them to avoid spoilage or contamination.
With the lack of cold-storage facilities at these ports, the shipments were delivered to the National Meat Inspection Services and only there were these unloaded and examined more thoroughly.
It was in October that two shipping containers from China, a county affected by ASF, were seized after their cargo of pork products were found to have been misdeclared as tomato paste and vermicelli.
It was unclear which agency would be responsible for the construction of the DCEAs and where the funds would come from.Last month, however, Mr. Duterte instructed the release of P1 billion from his office’s contingency fund for the DA to contain the spread of ASF in the country.
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