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Import ban on fresh produce from ASF-hit countries stays

Import ban on fresh produce from ASF-hit countries stays

MANILA: Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol on Wednesday reiterated that the import ban on fresh fruits, meat and its by-products, as well as plants from countries hit by African Swine Flu (ASF) is being strictly enforced by authorities.

“Over the last few weeks, following the strict implementation of Quarantine Rules against the entry of fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, meat and meat products, friends of President Rody Duterte and mine as well, have asked for consideration so that they could pass through Quarantine Officers,” Piñol said in a statement posted in his Facebook page.

“We are begging for your understanding because we could not exempt anybody from the rule that these products could not enter the country without the needed sanitary permits,” he said.

Piñol said he hopes they will understand the dangers they pose if these products are allowed to enter the country.

“Alam ko marami ang magtatampo (I know many will have hard feelings over this),” he said, apparently referring to the “friends” who were refused special consideration.

Countries hit by ASF include Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and Zambia.

The DA chief said the ASF particularly threatens the country’s hog industry “and we have to institute strict quarantine protocols.”

“Let me just remind you of the implications if we become complacent or if we accommodate requests for exemptions,” he said.

Besides, Piñol said, the Philippine Banana Industry now is facing a serious problem because of Fusarium or Panama Disease, which originated from another country.

“How do you think it got here? That is a result of the complacency of quarantine officers in the past,” he added.