MANILA – Agriculture secretary Manny Piñol on Friday ordered the relief of the whole quarantine group at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for their alleged failure to institute quarantine protocols to prevent the entry of pork products affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).
In a post on Facebook, Piñol said the involved officers will be relieved from their posts effective 5 p.m. on Friday.
“I will issue the order today even as I am here in the Bicol Region personally assessing the damage of tropical depression ‘Usman’ and ensuring immediately delivery of interventions,” he said.
Piñol said he also ordered the Internal Administrative Service of the Department of Agriculture to conduct an investigation and establish whether the officers could be charged with dereliction of duty.
“The relief of the whole Quarantine Team at the NAIA should send a clear message to members of the Department of Agriculture family that we cannot take Administrative Directives for granted,” he said.
Piñol said he issued the order after he learned that no quarantine protocols were implemented despite his order for the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to ensure that footbaths and other measures are established in all entry points of the country amid the reported spread of ASF in China.
ASF has been blamed for the deaths of pigs in at least eight countries, he pointed out.
Piñol said BAI Acting Director Ronnie Domingo admitted to him that the NAIA quarantine group failed to establish the footbath facility “because of procurement issues.”
“This an alibi which I will never accept as I have always believed in the Pilipino saying: ‘Kung gusto, maraming paraan; Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan’,” the DA chief said. (GMA News)