DA beefs up security against entry of imported agri products

Marje Pelayo   •   June 5, 2019   •   1972

Pork meat seized by the Bureau of Customs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for not having health clearances |Photo by BOC

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has heightened its border security against entry of imported agricultural products especially pork due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in some parts of Asia and Europe.

The agency has commissioned 15 sniffing dos at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and about 100 quarantine officers deployed at all seaports and airports across the country.

Filipino travelers coming from ASF-affected countries are advised not to bring into the country processed pork or pork-based products as these will be confiscated.

“Sinabi namin sa Department of Transportation na kung maaari magkaroon sila ng advisory sa lahat ng airlines na bago sumakay ang mga pasahero , mawarningan na sila na bawal mag-hand carry ng karne papuntang Pilipinas,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said.

(We asked the Department of Transportation to issue an advisory to all airlines calling on them to warn passengers against bringing pork products in flight.)

“At before landing mag-a-advise na on air na bawal magdala ng karne sa Pilipinas (dahil) may fine na P200,000,” he added.

(Before landing as well, they should advise on air that it is prohibited to bring in pork meat into the Philippines because there is a fine of P200,000.)

Piñol said he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to provide more funds for the purchase of additional x-ray machines.

“We really have to watch out for this because it could have devastating effect on the economy,” he explained.

“In fact, tumaas ang inflation rate ng China because tumaas ang presyo ng baboy at nag-iimport na sila ngayon instead of exporting,” he added.

(In fact, China’s inflation rate shot up because of the increase in prices of pork and they have to import [pork] unlike before they were exporting.)

The Agriculture Secretary confirmed, however, that so far the country remains ASF free. – (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

PH bans poultry meat from Poland

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities announced an import ban on poultry meat coming from Poland based on a memorandum order issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA) dated January 21.

The ban covers the importation of all domesticated and wild birds even eggs and sperm from Polish chickens.

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported an outbreak of bird flu or avian influenza with a subtype of H5N8 in Poland today.

“Gusto natin na ma-maintain natin sa free tayo,” explained BAI Director Ronnie Domingo.

“Ang posible lang na makapasok ay ang migratory birds or ang mga importation natin ng poultry coming from other countries. Kaya pagka ganyan na may report na sa ibang bansa, stop na,” he said.

BAI also noted an outbreak of bird flu from April to September 2017 in several municipalities in Central Luzon which impacted several farms in the region.

Thousands of fowls were culled to curb the spread of the disease.

But Domingo clarified that since the mid of 2018, the Philippines reported it has controlled the virus and eventually declared the country bird-flu free to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

A total of five countries were recommended to issue an import ban but it was Poland which the DA approved first, Domingo concluded. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

PH immigration denies entry to Mongolian, Briton at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Immigration officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have recently barred a Mongolian woman and a Briton from entering the Philippines.

Bureau of Immigration port operations division chief Grifton Medina said they barred the entry of a Mongolian woman who is wanted for beating her husband, and is a suspected terrorist from the United Kingdom.

The Mongolian woman, identified as 33-year old Unurjargal Altantsetseg, was intercepted last Friday upon her arrival at the Mactan, Cebu International Airport from Incheon, South Korea.

Medina said the woman is a subject of a red notice issued by the Interpol in April 2019 due to a case of assault and maltreatment that was lodged against her before a court in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.  

He added the battery case stemmed from an incident that happened on March 9, 2019, wherein Altantsetseg allegedly beat her husband during an argument, which resulted in the victim becoming blind and sustaining serious physical injuries.

Meanwhile, Medina said that a 51-year-old Briton was denied entry last week at the NAIA Terminal 3 after they received information regarding the unidentified Briton’s alleged terrorist links.

“Intelligence information received from foreign counterparts described him as being associated with a known terrorist group or being involved in terrorist activity, thus he was included in our alert list,” Medina said.

Both passengers were issued exclusion orders and booked on the first available flight to their port of origin.

Liquid marijuana worth P700k seized from warehouses at NAIA – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   January 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Some 330 cartridges of liquid marijuana were seized from various warehouses at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the BOC said the drug cartridges, which were confiscated from air cargo parcels, were estimated to worth P700,000.

Customs personnel examining the air parcels initially discovered a total of 11 packages containing liquid marijuana.

The bureau said it coordinated the seizure of drugs with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group.

The cartridges of liquid marijuana were then turned over to PDEA for further investigation of its consignees and senders.

The BOC stressed that the importation of “hempseed” and “Cannabidiol” is still considered illegal and may be subject to seizure pursuant to the provisions of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

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