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UNTV EXCLUSIVE: DA, NFA launch crackdown vs. rice hoarders; inspect warehouses in Bulacan

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Saturday, September 1st, 2018


BULACAN, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) launched the first joint operation against rice hoarding by raiding a row of warehouses in Marilao, Bulacan Friday night (August 31).

The operation, spearheaded by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and NFA Administrator Jason Aquino, discovered over 100,000 sacks of imported rice in one warehouse and about 50,000 sacks of rice in another.

According to Piñol, the owner of the rice storage incurred violations of NFA standards for warehouses.

“Here at Fedcor compound in Marilao, Bulacan it is apparent that three big warehouses, unmarked, would have an estimated 100,000 bags of rice, imported rice. This is already a violation because warehouses supervised by the NFA are supposed to have billboards announcing that these are NFA warehouses. The first warehouse that we opened contained rice about 50,000 bags,” he said during an operation exclusively covered by UNTV.

The Agriculture Secretary said the operation is part of the DA’s “Report a Hoarder” campaign, which he first announced earlier on Friday (August 31) which offers a cash reward of P250,000 for every report about hoarding activity that is verified and validated.

“We are expecting that we will be able to send the message across. This will be done nationwide. Now that DA and NFA have joined hands in implementing this campaign, we expect successes along the way,” he added.

Secretary Piñol said the campaign will be done nationwide in view of stabilizing the supply of rice in the market.

He warned traders and dealers to release their stocks and do away with hoarding as both agencies are determined to run after them.

“Better release your stocks now because the moment we inspect your warehouses and we see your stock, the government could confiscate your stocks and that could lead to a lot of penalties,” the Secretary warned. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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Filipinos urged to buy local pork products amid fears of African Swine Fever

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2019


MANILA, Philippines – Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol appeals to the public to patronize local pork and pork-based products amid the dangers of African Swine Fever (ASF) that is currently affecting large pig farms not only in China but in other countries across the globe.

“The world hog industry is faced with a threat by a disease called the African Swine Fever,” the Secretary said on his social media account.

“I am appealing to consumers to buy pork and pork-based products produced by local farmers. This will be the first time I will make this appeal to Filipino consumers, meat importers, government policy makers and agriculture stakeholders because we are facing a grave danger which could destroy the Philippine livestock industry,” he added.

In August 2018, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has imposed a ban on the entry of pork and pork-based products from at least 13 countries:

  1. Belgium
  2. Bulgaria
  3. China
  4. Czec Republic
  5. Hungary
  6. Latvia
  7. Moldova
  8. Poland
  9. Romania
  10. Russia
  11. South Africa
  12. Ukraine
  13. Zambia

Secretary Piñol also asked returning residents and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), especially those from countries affected by the ASF “not to bring in pork or pork-based products including ham, bacon and others.”

On Friday (January 4), the Agriculture Secretary sacked the entire Quarantine team at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for not instituting his order to install footbaths due to procurement issues.

“Halimbawa nakapasok. Anong impact noon? Sisirain natin ang buong industriya simply because sasabihin mo sa akin na “Wala pa po kasi kaming procurement”. Napakadali namang gawin iyon na gaumawa ka lang ng basang sako diyan ilagay mo diyan sa (sahig) pwede na,” he argued.

According to www.pigprogess.net, a key source of information for pig and pork production industry in the world, ASF has so far infected one of the largest pig farms in China located in northern Heilongjiang province, a facility that houses 73,654 pigs.

Screenshot from Pig Progress website

The website explains that African Swine Fever virus is “one of the most important diseases of pigs and the identification of the disease in a country normally results in the suspension of exports of pigs and pig products.”

It is highly contagious and the infection spreads rapidly from pig to pig usually from infected discharges and feces as well as by the consumption of infected meat.

The disease is “extremely resistant to putrefaction and sunlight, and can persist in refrigerated meat and carcasses for up to 6 months and for much longer when frozen.”

The effect of the disease on human health is still unknown. – Marje Pelayo




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Quarantine group relieved for failure to institute protocol vs. African Swine Fever

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2019


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on his social media account announced that the entire Quarantine group at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will be relieved from their posts effective Friday (January 4).

Piñol said such order was made because of the group’s failure to comply with his earlier directive “to institute Quarantine protocols to prevent the entry of pork products from areas affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).”


DA-BAI employees with their prepared disinfection mat before the disembarkation of passengers in Region 12 | Photo courtesy of Bureau of Animal Industry via Manny Piñol Facebook account

Secretary Piñol said he ordered “all Quarantine Stations to establish footbaths in all entry points of the country for the interception and confiscation of all pork-based products” because of the threat of ASF that was monitored by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as early as last year.

The Philippines, meanwhile, has already established a plan of action to prevent the entry of the disease into the country.

ASF is a viral disease that has been killing pigs in at least eight countries at present.

China has already reported an outbreak of the deadly disease as it has infested huge pig farms in the country.

Secretary Piñol added that he will also direct the Department of Agriculture (DA) Internal Administrative Service (IAS) “to conduct an investigation and establish whether the officers could be charged with dereliction of duty.”


DA-BAI employee showing his disinfection mat | Photo courtesy of Bureau of Animal Industry via Manny Piñol Facebook account

“The relief of the whole Quarantine Team at the NAIA should send a clear message to members of the Department of Agriculture (DA) family that we cannot take Administrative Directives for granted,” the Secretary said. – Marje Pelayo

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Price of firecrackers spike by 30% in Bocaue, Bulacan

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, December 25th, 2018


BULACAN, Philippines – Vendors expressed concern over low supply of firecrackers from manufacturers in Bocaue ahead of the year-end revelry.

This low supply prompted them to increase in prices by 30% from the previous price.

Ding Dinglasan observed that in the past 20 years as firecracker vendor, it was just this year that the firecracker capital of the Philippines experiences shortage in supplies.

Ding added that many firecracker manufacturers did not deliver additional stocks even the regular suppliers such as Arial, Platinum and Diamond, a well-known firecracker manufacturer in Bulacan.

“Dadalawa na lang. Dati lima iyan talaga. (Iyong) Arial hinahanap ng ibang tao pero wala na. Iyong Platinum marami ring naghahanap noon dahil magandang brand. Kaya lang wala rin silang parating, Iyong Diamond naman mga fountain lang kaya hahanapin yun,” he said.

Currently, firecrackers like the so-called ‘sawa’ now sells at P700 from the previous P500 per 2,000 rounds; P450 (from P300) per 1,000 rounds; and P200 (from P150) per 500 rounds.

 Decorative lighting devices, meanwhile, now sells at P25,000 for every 200 shoots, an P5,000 increase from previous price; P5,000 (from P3,500) for every 100 shoots; P2,500 (from P2,000) for every 49 shoots; and P800 (from P500) for every 16 shoots.

Sparklers now sell at P35 (from P30) for each bundle while the fountain now costs P50 (from P25) for every piece.

 “Expected naman na mataas kasi kulang ang mga suplay talaga. Mas maraming stock dati kaysa ngayon,” explained Marcelo Angeles of the Marcelo Fireworks Dealer.

Still, firecracker vendors are looking forward to the surge of buyers beginning December 27 until December 31 on the eve of the new year when the demand for firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices peaks. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nestor Torres)

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