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Davao City, Philippines

BOC tells meat and pork product importers to follow procedure

November 07, 2019 - Thursday 6:11 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image CHRISTMAS DELICACY. Wearing elves' hats, workers prepare lechons or roasted pigs for distribution to customers in Butuan City. Lechon is a favorite staple food of most Filipinos during special occasions, especially Christmas. ERWIN MASCARINAS/MINDANEWS

DAVAO CITY — The Bureau of Customs reiterated its reminders to importers of regulated meat and pork products to have their products inspected and cleared by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Health (DOH) before releasing them from their premises.

Article IV, Section 12, paragraph b of Republic Act Number 10611 or the Food Safety Act of 2013, states that “imported foods shall undergo cargo inspection and clearance procedures by the DA and DOH at the first port of entry to determine compliance with national regulations.” 

This inspection by the DA and DOH shall always take place prior to assessment for tariff and other charges by the BOC.

Port of Davao Public Information and Assistance Division Head Norman de Asis said that this regulation has been implemented by the bureau to ensure that food coming into the country is free of diseases such as the African Swine Fever (ASF).

He said the BOC regularly provides both the DA and DOH with documents needed to identify shipments with contents requiring food safety inspection like the Inward Foreign Manifest of Arriving Vessels.

The Bureau is assuring the safety of the general public as they are strictly conducting boarding formalities upon the arrival of vessels from its port of origin to any port of entry in the country.

Earlier, BOC Spokesperson and Assistant Commissioner Lawyer Vincent Philip Maronilla said all imported agricultural goods contained in reefer containers undergo initial examination by the DA together with the BOC examiners. 

He said after the initial examination, all reefer containers will be examined 100 percent by the Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Plant Industry, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources at their accredited warehouses.

In a previous statement, Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero emphasized that BOC is prompt in acting against derogatory reports of shipments that may contain smuggled goods and other contraband and is serious in enforcing the law and the proper procedures against imported pork and meat products from ASF-hit countries.

Since the implementation of the policy, the Bureau has apprehended various shipments containing processed pork and meat products in several ports.

Last month, they were able to seize four containers of misdeclared meat products amounting to P7-million at the Port of Manila, while P1.9-million worth of pork products were confiscated at the Subic Port.