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Bishop backs Philippine pork import ban

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, expressed support for a Philippine government ban on pork from at least 16 countries. He called on migrant workers not to send or bring any canned meat products home amid fears of the threat posed to the country’s pork industry by the spread of African swine fever in several parts of the world.
“For safety and health reasons we informed our chaplains to persuade our (migrant workers) not to send nor bring home any canned meat goods,” Bishop Santos said, adding that Filipino chaplains serving in several countries have been informed already to advise migrants on sending or bringing back food items.
Bishop Santos said Filipino workers abroad should instead save and send only “necessary items such as school supplies and clothing.”
An estimated 10.2 million Filipinos work abroad.
Although not a threat to humans, the hemorrhagic disease is highly contagious and extremely deadly among pigs.
Earlier, the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs confiscated canned meat products brought home by a migrant worker from Hong Kong.
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States has ordered a ban on all processed pork meat products imported from China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova and Belgium.
Nine more countries were added to the list of nations where processed pork is banned for importation due to suspicions of African swine fever virus.
In January this year, the Philippine government reported that personal remittances from overseas Filipino workers stood at $21.58 billion (US$2.75 billion), 4.4 per cent more than the in the same month last year.

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