MANILA, Jan 10 (Mabuhay) – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has ordered the temporary ban on the importation of livestock animals that may be susceptible to foot and mouth disease, their products and by-products, coming from Chungcheongbuk-Do, Korea; Jiangsu, China; and Caprivi, Namibia.
The temporary prohibition took effect through Memorandum Orders 98, 100 and 102, respectively, in December 2014 to protect the health of the local livestock population, and consequently, food safety in the country.
The directive was made following reports from the Office of International des Epizooties (OIE) of outbreak of FMD Virus of Serotype O affecting backyard piggery farms in China and Korea, and FMD Virus Serotype SAT2 affecting cattle kraals in Caprivi, Namibia.
“We cannot afford to take chances. We are maintaining our reputation of being an FMD-free country so we are very vigilant of every possible entry of FMD-infected animals or animal products in the Philippines,” Alcala said.
Alcala added that being FMD-free will be an advantage to the Philippines as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integrates and opens a free regional market this year.
Under the orders, the Secretary has also listed other specific emergency measures such as the immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of application and issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Import Clearance to import the aforementioned commodities from said locations; and stoppage and confiscation of all shipments of aforementioned commodities from said locations.
The OIE is an inter-governmental organization that, among others, has functions of informing governments of the occurrence of animal diseases and of ways to control these diseases, of coordinating studies devoted to the surveillance and control of animal diseases and of harmonizing regulations to facilitate trade in animals and animal products. (MNS)