THE installation of additional X-ray machines in all international airports is a welcome development in the country’s efforts to protect its borders from plant and animal diseases.
Thus, there’s now that urgent need for the government to strictly implement quarantine measures to prevent the entry of these diseases, like the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF).
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said President Duterte has approved the use of the agency’s Quick Reaction Fund (QRF) for the emergency procurement of 20 units of X-ray machines.
Under the country’s quarantine laws and regulations, the entry of meat, fisheries and horticulture products is prohibited if these are not covered by sanitary and phyto-sanitary permits, he said.
These permits are issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), according to Pinol.
He said the Department of Agriculture (DA) will be implementing stringent quarantine measures, which are comparable to those of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States.
Recently, DA-BAI agents seized canned goods at the Clark International Airport in Angeles City, Pampanga which, when tested by BAI’s Virulogy Division, contained genetic materials of the ASF virus.
The installation of additional X-ray machines in the country’s airports will enable personnel of the Bureau of Customs to examine all hand-carried and checked in luggage of arriving passengers
Aware of the frightening sight in countries, where ASF is terrorizing the people, the government is determined to thoroughly check agricultural products, notably meat, brought in by passengers.
In fact, in the view of many, including the ordinary citizens, the ASF scare should excite those tasked to implement the country’s quarantine laws and regulations into working harder.