By Madelaine Miraflor
Taiwan has imposed stricter African Swine Fever (ASF) measure on the Philippines amid an alleged unreported case of the deadly pork disease in Bulacan and Rizal province.
Over the weekend, Taiwan News reported that the East Asian nation will begin checking all carry-on bags from the Philippines starting today as a precautionary measure against ASF.
The order came from Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC), the government agency tasked to monitor emergency situations in Taiwan, which said “ASF cases have been detected in Bulacan and Rizal Province of the Philippines, even though the authorities have not reported the cases to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)”.
“The Philippines thus became the latest country to be listed as a high-risk area for ASF by the Taiwanese authorities,” the report further said.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar is set to address this issue in a press conference Monday.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has been imposing stricter quarantine protocols against ASF since last year. In July, the DA closed its doors to imported pork products coming from Germany, one of the Philippines’ top suppliers of affordable raw pork material, as part of this measure.
This made the Western European country the first country that can’t be allowed to import pork to the Philippines even if it remains free from the deadly hog disease.
Former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the move was a result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau Animal Industry (BAI) following the confiscation of a shipment of pork supposedly coming from Germany which included pork from Poland and Belgium.
Poland is one of the 18 countries with reported outbreak of ASF, a deadly hog disease which has no vaccine or cure. But while Germany is not included on the ASF list, it is contiguous with Poland and is therefore considered a “high risk” area.
Aside from Poland and Belgium, the country has already closed its doors to pork products coming from other ASF-hit countries like China, Hong Kong, Laos, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Russia, Myanmar, and Ukraine.