Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol yesterday relieved the whole Quarantine Group assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for their failure to comply with an earlier order directing them to put up footbaths in the country’s main airport to prevent the entry of pork products from countries affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).
Piñol issued the order after learning through media report the complaint of agriculture advocate Rosendo So who claimed that he saw no such quarantine procedures at the country’s main airport.
He disclosed that he was able to validate the complaint of So upon inquiry from Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo who admitted that the NAIA Quarantine Group failed to establish footbath facility.
Piñol said Domingo reasoned out that there were no foothbath facilities put up in NAIA “because of procurement issues” and it was the only station which failed to implement the directives.
“This an alibi which I will never accept as I have always believed in the Pilipino saying: “Kung gusto, maraming paraan; Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan,” Piñol stressed.
Piñol added that the relief of the whole quarantine team at the NAIA should send a clear message to members of the DA family that they cannot take administrative directives for granted.
“Today, I will also issue an order directing the DA Internal Administrative Service (IAS) to conduct an investigation and establish whether the officers could be charged with dereliction of duty,” he added.
Piñol explained that the Philippines has already established a plan of action to prevent the entry of the disease into the country as early as August last year when the Oficina Internacional de Epizootias (OIE)(World Organization for Animal Health) has monitored the threat of the ASF.
The DA secretary further disclosed that shortly before the holidays, he ordered Domingo to ensure that footbaths and other quarantine measures are established in all entry points of the country as the dreaded ASF, a disease killing pigs in at least eight countries, was reported spreading in China.
The directive was for all quarantine stations to establish footbaths in all entry points of the country, the interception and confiscation of all pork-based products