P300-M worth of smuggled rice seized in Bulacan warehouses

admin   •   September 12, 2018   •   11450

Image grabbed from Bureau of Customs Facebook

Several warehouses in Marilao Bulacan on Tuesday, September 11, were raided by Customs operatives and members of the Philippine National Police after authorities received reports that large quantities of smuggled rice are being kept inside.

An estimated 125,000 sacks of imported rice valued at P300 million were discovered inside seven warehouses located at Federal Corporation (FedCor) Compound in Barangay Ibayo, Bulacan.

Customs authorities are waiting for the parties responsible for the imported goods to present proof that payment for the duties and taxes of the smuggled rice has been made.

34 of 400 samples of pork products tested positive of African Swine Fever – BAI

Marje Pelayo   •   July 19, 2019

Boxes of pork items from Poland intercepted in Cebu on June 27 | Courtesy: BAI

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted a number of pork products from Hong Kong and China at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in between June 19 to 28.

The items didn’t have sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and could have been infested by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).

China is one of the 19 countries from where entry of pork and pork-based products are banned.

From a total of 400 samples that BAI examined, 34 tested positive of ASF and these products could have caused infestation in the country’s hog industry if they were not intercepted.

Germany was the latest addition to the list of countries where entry of pork products to the Philippines was banned.

Though there were no reports yet of ASF-infestation in Germany, the Philippines included it in the list after a German company exported pork products to the Philippines along with some 250 kilograms of pork from ASF-hit Poland.

The said shipment was intercepted in Cebu on June 27 which included 27 boxes of pork items from Poland.

That incident, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, was a clear violation of the country’s Quarantine Law thus resulting in the ban of pork products from Germany.

“Nakikiusap ako.(‘Im appealing to you) Please understand, these are extraordinary times. We cannot take the risk,” Secretary Piñol said.

“Kasi tingnan mo, Germany napaka-respectable na bansa nyan. It’s export country known for its high standards, nasingitan tayo, (You see Germany is a highly respected country. It’s exports are known for its high standards but some banned (pork) slip past their screening,)” he explained.

Piñol stressed that ASF infestation would compromise the country’s P260-B worth of hog industry.

Some of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have already declared an outbreak of ASF such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked store owners to self-recall pork products from China that covers those manufactured since the start of the import ban.

Still, Piñol assures the Philippines’ hog industry remains ASF free. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

DOTr targets partial operation of MRT-7 in 2021

Marje Pelayo   •   July 17, 2019

Proposed MRT 7 train

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is targeting the partial operation of MRT-7 in 2021.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said the project will definitely ease the burden of commuters as travel time from Quezon City to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan will reduce significantly from four hours to about 35 minutes once the project is completed.

On Wednesday (July 17), Batan and DOTr officials inspected MRT-7’s construction site in Quezon City to check the work in progress.

According to the project’s contractor San Miguel Corporation, the ongoing construction is already 44% complete which includes the train stations, platforms and the line where the railings will be placed.

The DOTr also announced that the procurement of 36 new train sets from South Korea has already been done.

MRT-7 is a 23-kilometer railway system that connects North Avenue in Quezon City to the province of Bulacan.

The train system traverses 14 stations namely North Avenue, Quezon City Memorial Circle, University Avenue, Tandang Sora, Don Antonio, Batasan, Manggahan, Doña Carmen, Regalado, Mindanao Avenue, Quirino, Sacred Heart, Tala and San Jose Del Monte.

It can load up to 500,000 passengers daily.

To prevent similar glitches as those in MRT Line 3, the DOTr is in close coordination with the agency’s private partners in terms of the regular maintenance of the MRT-7.

Usec. Batan said the completion of the entire project is expected in 2022. – with details from Joan Nano

Three towns in Bulacan still submerged in flood, LGU cautions public against diseases from flood

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 2, 2019

Flooded street in Marilao, Bulacan, Philippines (29 June 2019) | Courtesy: PVI

Bocaue, Balagtas, and Marilao, Bulacan are still submerged in flood due to the plastic waste in rivers.

Several residents are already suffering from skin diseases after wading through flood.

Ferdinand Librenan, one of the residents, said the flood is a huge inconvenience especially for their health.

Sa araw-araw nalang po kaming lahat nahihirapan dahil sa lalim ng tubig lagi mga bara na kanal, basura sobrang baha po, ultimo dumi ng tao tinatapon nalang, nangangati ka ganoon minsan may mga butlig-butlig, (All of us are inconvenienced because of the depth of the water. The waterways are clogged, there are garbage and severe flooding. Even the human waste is thrown here. I get itch and rashes),” he said.

The Bulacan Provincial Health Office reminds residents to always wear rain boots before wading through flood. They also cautioned parents not to let their children wade through flood to avoid diseases.—AAC (with reports from Nestor Torres)

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