LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Animal safety is being put in place in the province.
In an ordinance penned by Board Member Robert Namoro, animal quarantine is being put in the forefront because "it is crucial in protecting the Province's local animal industry against diseases that may be brought in by shippers."
Namoro said the law also aims to help to regulate the supply of livestock and poultry in the market that may compete with local raisers.
The province is mulling for the passage of animal quarantine ordinance to prevent the spread of contamination and also contain contamination of animals and not put others at risk.
Namoro said the government is mandated to ensure public health and safety through quality and safe animal fish products, preventing and minimizing the occurrence of livestock and poultry diseases by intensifying measures for the prevention and eradication of dangerous trans-boundary diseases in the province.
The ordinance when passed will mandate the placement of five check points in the area; the Palispis - Aspiras Highway, Naguilian Road, Kennon Road, Benguet – Nueva Viscaya and the Benguet-Ilocos Road.
Fines and penalties apply to offenders from as low as P500 to as high as P5,000 and cancellations of permits and licenses.
The province will recommend the confiscation of the livestock which did not pass through the officially designated quarantine areas in the province.
Namoro said cattle rustling, shipping in of diseased animals and other forms of livestock trading especially in Benguet and Baguio City which are known market destinations.
The law applies to all livestock and poultry dealers/ traders, handlers of meat and meat products and it's by products in the province and those to enter its area.
Fongwan said he is backing the DENR in the decision to close the "La Presa" area to tourists, businesses and new structures but stressed, those businesses along the main highway should be spared.
"But they should put a sign somewhere so people will understand," said Fongwan.
The DENR is strict in its stand on all expansions in the mountain should be stopped in compliance to the declaration of Sto. Tomas as a forest reserve.
“They are right, there should be no expansions, but businesses should continue,” Fongwan said.
The area is within a critical watershed, one of the last forested areas in Southern Benguet, which is an important source of potable water for residents and visitors of Baguio City, including downstream communities until Tuba and Rosario in La Union.
The DENR has filed cases against illegal settlers who insist to set up structures in Mt. Santo Tomas with 13 cases of violations against PD 705 known as the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines pending in the courts.
The area is also the subject of an ongoing case and is under a Temporary Protection Order (TEPO) when Bishop Carlito Cenzon filed for a Writ of Kalikasan to protect the watershed.