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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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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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Malacañang assures passenger safety a gov’t priority in NAIA

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2018

Image grabbed from commons.wikimedia.org

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is scrutinizing the latest travel advisory issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alleging security measures at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as deficient.

The advisory which circulated on social media on Wednesday (December 26) said NAIA “does not maintain and carry out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

“In view of this finding and effective immediately, airlines issuing tickets for travel between the United States and MNL are directed to notify passengers in writing of this determination,” the advisory further stated.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in response to the issue assured on Friday (December 28) that passenger safety remains the government’s utmost priority in NAIA.

“We assure everyone that the Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), is prioritizing the implementation of strict security measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” Panelo said.

Among the recommendations are the procurement of additional x-ray machines, walk-through metal detectors and alarm systems.

These improvements, however, will be realized on the second quarter of 2019 as they need to go through proper government procedure, according to Panelo.

He added that the government is also taking into consideration the inputs from global partners such as the International Civil Aviation Organization on the issue.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is confident that the country has enough defense against terror threats in NAIA.

He noted, however, that the government cannot discount the fact that the country’s main gateway is a potential target for terrorists.

Lorenzana believes the US travel advisory referred to the rules and regulations being imposed in NAIA and not about it being vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

“Hindi naman siguro. I think it’s the management of the airport, the way passengers are being screened, ang mga equipment natin, if they are not adequate,” he said.

Nevertheless, the Defense Secretary calls on the public to be vigilant and alert against lawless elements and to keep safe at all times especially this holiday season particularly when going to crowded areas. –  Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Overnight, long-term parking suspended at NAIA-T3 effective Dec. 29

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2018

Ninoy Aquino International Airport  (file photo)

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Overnight and long-term parking at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are temporarily suspended beginning Friday (December 29).

According to a statement from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the measure will provide more parking spaces for vehicles used by people to pick up passengers amid the holiday rush.

Meanwhile, pay parking is allowed but for a limited time only.

The suspension of overnight and long-term parking will be lifted on January 4, 2019. – UNTV News and Rescue

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