THE Cebu Province’s African Swine Fever (ASF) task force confiscated around 3,000 kilos worth of pork hams at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) that would have been used for the Christmas and New Year celebration.
The confiscated cargo, estimated to be worth P1.3 million, reportedly came from Luzon, said Dr. Mary Rose Vincoy of the Cebu Provincial Veterinary Office.
The hams were loaded on a cargo plane that landed at the MCIA on Dec. 12, 2019.
Following their recent operation, Vincoy said they will now intensify their monitoring of the MCIA and other entry points in Cebu, such as ports and piers, for the possible entry of ASF-tainted products.
Vincoy said this year, the Regional Veterinary Quarantine Office (RVQO) wants to strengthened its monitoring on all baggage entering Cebu’s main entry points as they suspect that the clandestine exportation of unregulated pork products to Cebu province will continue after some regions surrounding Central Visayas have already lifted their bans against pork products from Luzon, an area that has been affected by ASF.
Cebu implemented its own ASF ban on unregulated pork products on Aug. 20, 2019.
Within four months, the ASF Task Force confiscated 5,478 kilos worth of pork products in markets, convenience stores and the Cebu City pier area.
The confiscated meats had an estimated value of P1.4 million.
Another P3 million worth of pork products was also confiscated in various ports across Cebu Province.
Vincoy said that although the airport has its own standard operating procedure, she urged airport personnel to implement stricter measures on cargo coming in by plane.
“Though they have their own protocols such as that every cargo is checked by X-ray and opened if they found any meat products, we don’t have to be complacent. We need to be more strict about it,” Vincoy said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Aside from the airport, stricter inspections should be implemented within Cebu’s 12 seaports, particularly on smaller boats docking there.
Vincoy said some of these 12 ports have direct routes going to Eastern Visayas, which is currently the subject of a new ASF ban imposed by the Province. (ANV / JKV)