Bring home the greenback but not bacon and other pork products this Christmas.
This comes as a timely admonition issued by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in anticipation of the avalanche of canned goods and meat products brought in by travelers as gifts to their families this coming holiday season.
Customs-NAIA district collector Carmelita Talusan reminded balikbayan and other arriving travelers that canned goods or any pork products, especially those from countries affected by the highly contagious African Swine Fever, will be confiscated.
“We’re expecting the influx of canned goods and meat products this Christmas season but we will confiscate the items and any made products from countries affected by the ASF, and from other countries with no permits,” said Talusan.
She made the reminder for the passengers to avoid any hassles at the arrival area.
Aside from chocolates, pork products such as hotdogs, sausages, ham and luncheon meat are among the favorite ‘pasalubong’ of returning travelers to their families and friends during holidays and other celebrations.
“This is not to spoil the intention of pasalubong and the spirit of Christmas but this is our way of protecting the swine industry and the country from further outbreak,” explained Talusan.
Latest reports showed that nearly 80 percent of the world’s domestic pig population is at risk of contracting ASF as the virus continues to spread.
The government banned the importation of pork and pork-based items from Russia, Romania, South Africa, Ukraine, Zambia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Cambodia.
Talusan said her office continues its close coordination with the Bureau of Animal Industry as part of the government’s campaign against ASF.
Airport and agriculture officials also deployed meat-sniffing canines to check the luggage of arriving passengers.
Customs-NAIA agents have already confiscated more than 4,490 kilos of meat and meat products at the airport and turned it over to the BAI for condemnation.
ASF is not a threat to human health but it is a highly contagious disease for domestic and wild pigs.
“Safe meat products accompanied by import permit or the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Import Clearance are the ones qualified for release in Ports,” Talusan said.
In May, authorities at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga confiscated balikbayan boxes containing canned goods brought in by an overseas Filipino worker from Hong Kong.
In September and October last year, cases of pork meat products contamination have been recorded in Korea and Japan through dumplings and hotdog products.