P100M worth of smuggled ASF-infected pork and assorted agri-fishery products seized in NCR
Philippines , 02 June 2021
In coordination with the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), and as co-Chair of the Sub-Task Group on Economic Intelligence (STG-EI), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) facilitated and witnessed the confiscation of more than P100 million worth of smuggled frozen meat and assorted agri-fishery products in the National Capital Region (NCR) last Friday, 28 May 2021.
Various frozen meat and high-value agricultural food products such as beef, Peking duck, black chicken, eel, Dori fish fillet, crawfish, jumbo shrimps, scallops, and African Swine Fever (ASF)-infected pork were found inside 12 refrigerated container vans that were parked in an empty lot in Barangay San Rafael, Navotas City.
According to the investigation, the shipments originated from Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, and Vietnam based on the markings of the boxes—and almost half of the entire shipment is comprised of ASF-infected frozen pork imported from Germany despite the President’s recent announcement of a State of Calamity in the country because of the ASF outbreak.
The anti-smuggling operation noted several violations that were committed by the illegal traders including the absence of International Veterinary Certificate from the country of origin, absence of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Import Clearance, lack of necessary border inspection of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Veterinary Quarantine Officers at the port of entry, and shipments containing pork and poultry products coming from countries with existing trade suspensions due to the presence of transboundary animal diseases such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and ASF.
The seized goods will be subjected to destruction in accordance with the DA’s Memorandum Order 43 Series of 2020 otherwise known as the Temporary Ban on the Importation of Domestic and Wild Pigs and Their Products and By-Products including Pork Meat, Pig Skin, Porcine Processed Animal Proteins and Semen Originating from Germany.
Accordingly, the NBI will file appropriate criminal charges against the alleged owner of the smuggled shipments including the violation of Republic Act No. 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 and Republic Act. No. 10611 or the Food Security Act of 2013.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic while our country is currently under a state of calamity due to ASF. Businessmen cannot and should not take advantage of our situation with their illegal business practices as they will be dealt with the long arm of the law,” DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo stated.