Issue of February 11, 2018

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Benguet enforces stricter animal quarantine checks
by Ofelia C. Empian

To prevent the entry of trans-boundary animal diseases in the  province, Benguet has fully implemented the Provincial Animal Quarantine Ordinance this month.

Provincial Veterinarian Miriam Tiongan said her office and partners have activated the various checkpoints where truckers and suppliers enter the province.

In the designated quarantine checkpoints, staff from the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Animal Industry, and provincial treasury will inspect vehicles containing animals, animal products, and its by-products prior to its entry.

The ordinance covers all animal traders, handlers of meat, meat products and its by-products, fish and aquatic products and bee and its products in the province and those who will enter the province.

“The quarantine areas are there to ensure the public on food safety. We are a market destination here that’s why it is important to make sure that all animals and its products coming up here are disease-free and of quality,” she said.

Thirty contract of service personnel were designated in the five entry points, namely Palispis-Aspiras Highway (Marcos Highway) and Kennon Road both in Tuba, Quirino Highway (Naguilian Road) in Sablan, Benguet-Nueva Viscaya Road in Bokod, and the Mountain Province-Benguet Road-Bangao in Buguias.

Tiongan said there will be additional checkpoints to be established at Benguet-Ilocos Sur Road in Mankayan and Tubao, La Union-San Pascual in Tuba.

Regulatory fees are set for livestock, meat products and by-products, fish, bee ,and chicken dung manure entering the province as well as penalties for violations of the ordinance. 

Tiongan said collecting fees is not the main goal of the ordinance but ensuring the safety and well-being of consumers and livestock producers in the province.

She said based on their surveillance during a disease outbreak in some areas in the province, most of the animal diseases that hit local livestocks came from outside sources.

“When we interview owners, they tell us they got their livestock or poultry animal from outside sources before the disease hit their farms. The disease is spread due to inter-movement of animals and humans,” she said.

The provincial veterinarian in the past has been calling for the strict enforcement of animal quarantine in the province due to cases of animal diseases that plagued the country, such as the new castle disease outbreak in 2016 and the avian flu outbreak in 2017.

Livestock business owners traversing the entry points in the province are required to present an animal health certificate and  a veterinary shipping permit for live livestock.

For processed products, a license to operate from the Food and Drug Administration and a certificate of product registration are required. For fish, auxiliary invoice should be secured. 

For the chicken dung, health certificate and veterinary shipping permit are also required.

Benguet is the first province in the Cordillera to have crafted such ordinance.

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