Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should avoid bringing pork products to the Philippines when they come home for the holidays, especially those coming from countries with confirmed cases of African Swine Fever (ASF).
This was the appeal made by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to OFWs, noting that airport authorities will also be very strict in checking food items that will be brought in from abroad.
Noel Reyes, assistant secretary at the agriculture department, said this is part of the government’s efforts to stop the spread of ASF in the country and protect the domestic swine industry.
“Huwag na silang magbitbit. Makukumpiska lang sa mga airport at seaport, especially if dumaan sila sa Hong Kong and China,” Reyes said at the weekly Pulong Balitaan forum on Monday (October 28).
The government has already effected a ban on pork and pork products from 24 jurisdictions that have confirmed cases of ASF contamination.
Parts of the European Union and Africa, as well as China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia are among the economies that have ASF.
Reyes said aside from risking wasting their money for bringing in pork products, OFWs will also be burdened by documentary requirements, like a certification that the meat they are carrying is ASF-free.
Around 200,000 OFWs usually come home to be with their families during the Christmas season.
Just recently, the DA has confiscated processed meat using imported ASF-tainted pork at a pork in Mindoro. Several local government units have banned pork and pork products from Luzon as a measure to protect their respective swine industry.
Overall, the country’s estimated swine population is at 12.7 million heads as of July 2019. The population of swine in backyard farms is 8.02 million heads, while stocks in commercial farms stood at 4.68 million heads.