THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

First border inspection facility of imported meat, agri products to rise soon

Author: DA Communications Group | 10 July 2020

The government will further strengthen on-site border control inspections for imported animals, plants, meat, and other farm and fishery products arriving in major international seaports in the country.

Led by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), it has started laying the groundwork for the establishment of the first-border inspection (FBI) facilities in the country’s major ports, starting at the Manila International Container Port.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the FBI will be conducted on all animals, plants, fisheries, and related agricultural products arriving from other countries.

“The FBI facilities will be one of the major accomplishments of the Duterte administration as biosecurity measures like quarantine checks are needed to protect animal, plant and public health, and animal welfare,” said secretary Dar.

The FBI facilities will also be put up at Manila South Harbor, Subic Freeport Zone, Port of Batangas, Cebu International Port, and Port of Davao.

BAI Director Ronnie Domingo said coordination meetings with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), concerned officials of the MICP, and other five major ports have started since February this year to identify suitable, available and strategic locations.

Each facility — to be manned by at least 39 technical personnel— will house an Agriculture Commodity Examination Area (ACEA) and crematorium.

Domingo said the ACEAs have been present in all developed countries as part of their strengthened food safety and quarantine, inspection regulations. These border control facilities will be the first ACEAs to be established in the country.

The ACEA, with its controlled temperature environment, will capacitate the quarantine officers to thoroughly inspect the contents of an identified high-risk containerized agricultural shipment.

Each ACEA will feature a laboratory to enable the immediate testing of samples from commodities suspected to carry animal, fish or plant pests or diseases and other hazardous contents.

A crematorium will also be in place to ensure safe disposal of confirmed agricultural commodities with quarantine violations, if these cannot be returned to origin.

The Duterte administration has allocated P2 billion for the establishment of the five ACEAs.

To date, the Department of Budget Management (DBM) has allocated P500 million for the ACEA at MICP.

Secretary Dar said this will strengthen the existing FBI procedures in the country, emphasizing the need to prevent the entry of trans-boundary animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Avian Influenza, and African Swine Fever (ASF).

The FBI facilities will also reinforce the implementation of food safety and sanitary and phytosanitary measures for plants, fish and fishery products.

“The ACEAs will enable us to perform 100% inspection of farm commodities especially those on high risk or ‘Alert Order’ status. This will help us reduce or prevent smuggling of agricultural products, and prevent the entry of major animal, plant and fish diseases that will endanger the country’s agricultural industry,” said secretary Dar.

“Under the Food Safety Act of 2013 or RA 10611, all food, meat, and agri shipments must first go through ACEA, before the BOC,” said the DA chief.

In particular, the law’s Section 12, Item b) states that:

    • “Imported foods shall undergo cargo inspection and clearance procedures by the DA and the DOH at the first port of entry to determine compliance with national regulations. This inspection by the DA and the DOH shall always take place prior to assessment for tariff and other charges by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
    • “The BOC and the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) shall provide the DA and the DOH documents such as the Inward Foreign Manifest of Arriving Vessels to enable the DA and the DOH to identify shipments requiring food safety inspection. Shipments not complying with national regulations shall be disposed according to policies established by the DA and the DOH; and
    • “The DA and the DOH shall develop the regulations on cargo/shipment inspections and clearance procedures for imported products prior to the assessment of the BOC for the appropriate tariffs.”

The DA and the BOC will forge an agreement to implement said policy as called for under the Food Safety Act of 2013. ### (DA StratComms)

Back to Archives