THE call for the suspension of importation of pork gained support after the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) seconded the appeal of the Samahan ng Industriya sa Agrikultura (SIK) on the issue.
PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto stressed that the government must suspend the pork imports until a genuine quarantine system is in place at Customs borders.
Fausto explained that the policy will not only ensure animal protection from infection of the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) but it will also ensure that proper tariffs and duties are paid.
He added that the government -- the Bureau of Customs (BOC -- currently does not have the full capability to carry out strict biosecurity system that will guarantee that no imported meat products infected with ASF will enter the country.
Fausto claimed that BOC deficiencies include the absence of refrigerated facilities where the meat products may be adequately inspected for quarantine systems by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the system for proper collection of tariffs and duties.
“These deficiencies derail implementation of proper animal and food safety along with proper revenue collection from meat imports,” Fausto said.
“The current ‘make-do’ second border system inside the cold storage facility of the importer is meaningless in terms of proper collection of tariffs and duties, quarantine and food safety,” he added.