Beyond Buzzwords: Transforming Philippine Agriculture!

DA chief warns against corruption on Plant Quarantine Day

Author: DA Communications Group | 13 June 2022

With agricultural smuggling and extortion controversies surrounding Philippine agriculture, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar reiterated his call against corruption during the 44th founding anniversary of the Bureau of Plant Industry – National Plant Quarantine Services Division (BPI-NPQSD) on June 10, 2022. 

“Do not be afraid. As long as you do your job with integrity, then you can be sure that the Department of Agriculture has your back on moral decisions. Just do what is right. No to corruption! Keeping to the right path will give you the courage to face the law and claim justice for doing your job,” he encouraged.

According to Secretary Dar, the Division, tasked to enforced plant quarantine laws and regulations, as well as phytosanitary measures on imported and exported agricultural commodities as per the Plant Quarantine Decree of 1978, is constantly in a tough position.

The agri chief also granted a special plaque of commendation to the NPQSD for “standing strong, doing right, and doing what is right based on all existing laws.”

“I hope that these challenges that we are currently facing will not discourage everyone to work with honor and truthfulness. Instead, may these serve as a motivation for us to always do the right thing and protect the integrity and credibility of the Plant Quarantine Group, the Bureau of Plant Industry, and the Department of Agriculture (DA). We cannot let our fear of failure, temptation or judgment stop us from doing our job well,” the Secretary declared.

For his part, NPQSD Officer-in-Charge Chief Joselito Antioquia shared the Division’s steadfast commitment to its duties and responsibilities.

“We have maintained our stand in implementing our mandates. I am thankful to every staff member, no matter what job you have in our Division, for doing your assigned tasks compliantly and diligently without fear and favor. I hope that everyone who is present here will take these lit issues as lessons and support the Secretary in his drive against graft and corruption,” said the OIC Chief.

According to the history overview provided by Antioquia, the NPQSD was first known as the Plant Inspection Service under the Bureau of Agriculture’s Plant Industry Division and was established to prohibit the importation and exportation of diseased planting materials to and from the Philippines as per Act 2515 enacted in February 5, 1912. However, the lack of qualified personnel delayed its implementation to 1915.

The Service was then separated to form the Plant Pest Control Division in 1919. Later legislation such as the Plant Quarantine Act of 1922 and the Agricultural Pest Quarantine Act of 1930 further enhanced the existing plant quarantine measures in the Philippines.

With the passage of the Presidential Decree Number 1433—better known as the Plant Quarantine Decree of 1978—on June 10, 1978, the country’s plant quarantine laws were revised and consolidated, strengthening the BPI’s Plant Quarantine Service.

The PD 1433 would later be amended in 2003 to rename the Service as the current NPQSD, with the primary goal of monitoring and controlling the movement of plant pests and diseases. As of date, the Division comprises 23 center stations and 12 sub-stations nationwide, as well as its Central Office in Malate, Manila.

The Division’s anniversary celebration this year highlighted vigilance against agricultural lawbreakers with its theme, “Transforming Plant Quarantine, Strengthening Vigilance to Adapt in this Pandemic.” ### (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)

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