Piñol defends Usec. Carpio amid drug allegations

Marje Pelayo   •   April 3, 2019   •   4064

(L-R) Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Waldo Carpio

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol shared his thoughts on the issue linking one of his officials to illegal drugs.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Waldo Carpio is being implicated in a controversy along with presidential son former Davao City Mayor Paulo Duterte.

Carpio is the brother of Atty. Mans Carpio, the husband of Paulo’s sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Piñol said he has no complaints against Usec. Carpio being the DA’s head for Special Concerns, the office managing the agency’s programs with international partners.

“Okay naman (ang performance niya),” the DA chief said.

Carpio was assigned as Assistant Secretary to the DA in September 2018 and was promoted to the position of undersecretary just two months later.

Piñol said he is not convinced by the claims of the whistleblower in a recent viral video linking Usec. Carpio to illegal drug trade.

“That’s pure canard. Maski si Pulong di ako maniwala dyan,” Piñol said.

The man in the video known as alias Bikoy alleged that Paulo Duterte is receiving drug money from illegal drugs operations in Southern Luzon and the Visayas region.

Allegedly, a monthly remittance of P30 million drug money had been transmitted to dummy accounts named under Usec. Carpio.

In an unconfirmed social media account named under Waldo Reyes Carpio, the Undersecretary was seen in photos of campaign sorties of then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

He is a nephew of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

President Duterte was among the principal sponsors in Usec. Carpio’s wedding.

The UNTV News Team has sought for Carpio’s comment but the undersecretary is currently on an official trip abroad.

He is expected to return to the country next week. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DA confirms swine deaths despite no declaration of hog-related disease

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is being careful when it comes to declaring what virus could have caused the latest infestation of pigs in the country.

According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, he was informed about the swine deaths last Friday (August 16) but he refused to name the exact location.

He assured, however, that the government is on top of the situation and is working to address the issue.

“Kung ano ang suspected na may disease ay kina-cull-out, inaalis, binu-bury at dini-disinfect ang lugar (The pigs suspected of the disease are culled out, removed (from the herd), and buried; then the place is disinfected),” according to Secretary Dar.

The secretary wants to see the result of the confirmatory test first being done by foreign experts before declaring what type or kind of disease has caused the deaths of the pigs.

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), likewise, said they cannot risk committing mistakes by making hasty conclusions like what happened to other countries.

“September 2018 ay nagkamatayan din ang mga baboy sa Japan at ito ay naging national issue, naging international issue (In September 2018, swine deaths were reported in Japan and it became a national issue and had gotten international),” explained BAI Director Ronie Domingo.

“(Ang) ginawa nila, ang kanilang laboratory procedures, diagnosed that it was hog cholera. Pero 75,000 na ang kanilang na-cull na baboy, (What they did, based on their laboratory procedures, was diagnose that it was hog cholera. But they have already culled 75,000 pigs,)” he noted.

The confirmatory test may take up to two weeks to three months.

The possibility of African Swine Fever (ASF) infestation surfaced when the Taiwan government beefed up its customs regulations by banning entry of pork products and checking of carry-on baggage of travelers from the Philippines.

The DA maintains that the Philippines remains ASF free and has banned entry of pork products from 19 ASF-infected countries. – MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

Taiwan starts checking carry-on baggage from PH due to alleged African Swine Fever

UNTV News   •   August 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Taiwan government has started checking carry-on baggage of travelers coming from the Philippines for entry of pork and pork based products.

The new policy was announced on Sunday (August 18) by Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) as a precaution against African Swine Fever (ASF).

Under the new rule, all carry-on bags from the Philippines will be examined by X-Ray machines at the airport and other ports of entry.

According to a report from Taiwan News, the CEOC was informed by a reliable source that ASF cases have been detected in two provinces.

This, despite no confirmed reports from local authorities have been submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) yet, the center said.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Monday (August 19) confirmed that there were reported pig deaths in certain areas in the country but refused to identify the location.

The Department, however, is still waiting for the result of the confirmatory tests being made on pig specimens to make sure what type of disease infested the pigs, according to Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronie Domingo.

“Noong 1998, ang Malaysia, namatay ang mga baboy nila at nagkasakit ang mga tao din at sabi nila ang sakit na ito kuwan lang ito Japanese encephalitis. Kayat gumawa sila ng control measures nila laban sa Japanese encephalitis,” recalled Domingo.

(In 1998, Malaysia reported pig deaths which also infected humans. They said it was Japanese encephalitis so they imposed control measures against Japanese encephalitis.)

“Nag-fogging sila at kung ano-ano pa pero tuloy-tuloy ang mortalities lalo na doon sa mga nag-aalaga ng baboy and then ito ay naging national issue, naging international issue siya. Halos nag collapse ang kanilang swine industry pero later on na-discover nila it was Nipa virus. Wrong diagnosis,” he added.

(They did fogging and many other measures but the mortality continued especially among pig handlers. It became a national issue even an international issue. (Malaysia’s) swine industry almost collapsed but later on, they discovered, it was Nipa virus. (So) wrong diagnosis.)

Taiwan’s checking of carry-on baggage of incoming travellers from the Philippines takes effect Monday (August 19).

Travelers who will be caught carrying pork product starting August 19 from non ASF-infected countries without declaring them to the authorities will face a fine of between NT$10,000 (US$316) or P16,500 to NT$30,000 (US$950) or P50,000 for bringing pork products from non-ASF-affected countries.

Meanwhile, bringing in to Taiwan pork products without reporting to authorities will incur penalties of NT$200,000 (US$6,300) or about P300,000 for first offense and NT$1 million (US$31,600) or P1.6-M for committing the offense twice. — MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

DA to start P15,000 loan program for farmers in September

Marje Pelayo   •   August 16, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Local famers | PVI/Richard Cortez

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s loan program for farmers is set to begin in September, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The financial assistance aims at helping local farmers cope with the impact of the Rice Tariffication Law especially since the price of palay plummeted from P20/kg last year to just P14/kg this year.

Farmers who are owners of farm lands one hectare and smaller are qualified to avail for the P15,000 loan which they will pay in a span of eight years.

The program’s P1.5-B budget will be funded by the Landbank of the Philippines.

According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the National Food Authority (NFA) will then purchase the local farmers’ palay harvests while they are enrolled in the loan program. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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