Don’t be surprised if a dog sniffs your luggage inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Sniffing dogs are now seen roaming the airport terminals to detect contaminated or unsafe meat inside the luggage of arriving air travelers.
On Thursday, the Bureau of Animal Industry initially deployed three canines at the airport as part of a dry run activity in connection with a new policy to be enforced soon.
BAI director Dr. Ronnie Domingo said there is no specific date yet for its formal deployment at the airport.
The Department of Agriculture recently announced it is going to deploy 15 trained dogs to detect meat in all international airports this month to prevent the entry of products contaminated with African Swine Fever.
Domingo said they are going to ask passengers or appeal to them to surrender the meat they would be bringing in into the country, or face penalties.
If caught, violators of the meat quarantine protocol will pay fines of P50,000 up to P200,000.
Imported meat products will be allowed in the country if the importers have secured Phyto-Sanitary Permit from the port of origin, otherwise the meat will be confiscated and will be condemned.
The prohibitions extended to bringing in plant and animal products without Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Permits.
In September and October last year, cases of pork meat products contamination have been recorded in Korea and Japan through dumplings and hotdog products.
According to BAI, an outbreak of the virus can affect over 40 million live hogs and pigs in the Philippines, and can destroy the country’s P2-billion swine industry.
To safeguard against the epidemic, BAI personnel and Port of NAIA officials initiated briefings and information dissemination to Customs NAIA frontliners of Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to strengthen the vigilance against the African Swine Fever.