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PIA Press Release
2007/06/04

Animal health group declares RP to be FMD-free

Manila (4 June) -- The World Organization for Animal Health has recently reaffirmed the country to be free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease during the 75th annual general session of the International Committee held in Paris, France last month.

At the sidelines of the North Food Caravan Harvest, Bureau of Animal Industry Director Davinio Catbagan said that the OIE again has declared Visayas, Mindanao, Masbate and Palawan to be totally free of FMD.

Visayas and Mindanao have been declared as FMD-free for more than a decade now, and Luzon, for more than a year.

According to Catbagan, the department is now preparing and working on getting the National Capital Region, Batangas, Bulacan, Laguna and Nueva Ecija to be declared as FMD-free.

"If no FMD-related incidents happen in the next six months, we are ready to lodge our application to the OIE by January next year and then wait for the results by May 2008 when the committee reconvenes," said Catbagan.

He added that the BAI would need P50 million to fund its programs to ensure that the country would stay free of FMD.

One of its programs is the strengthening quarantine controls.

Another would focus on the NCR and the four provinces by monitoring all movements and transfers of animals from one province to another and putting up strategic checkpoints to ensure that no unchecked animal will be smuggled to and fro.

Catbagan added that they are strengthening their information campaign drive, as well as their ties with local government units.

"If we can pass the May 2008 deliberations, then the whole country can be declared FMD-free, and that's something we can take advantage of," said Catbagan.

As it is, the country has already reaped the benefits of having some of its areas declared as totally FMD free.

For this year, the Department of Agriculture already expects the country's hog industry to grow 3.5 percent as it expects a rise in trade of Philippine meat products with Singapore, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and other Asian countries.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap earlier said that, aside from frozen meat, the department sees eight processed meat items to start penetrating the global market this year as the Philippines moves closer to being declared totally free of FMD by the OIE.

The processed products are luncheon meat, spam, pork and beans, lechon paksiw, pork adobo, sisig, chili con carne and bistik tagalog.

"Singapore is willing to accept Philippine exports of fresh, frozen meat, subject to certain conditions, which are being worked out," Yap said. "We are looking at Japan, which is the world's top meat importer, as another major market for our meat exports." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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