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Pre-shipment inspection regime ordered for agricultural imports

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THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will require pre-shipment inspections for selected countries’ farm products that are due to be shipped to the Philippines.

“What we will do is release an administrative order (AO), requiring pre-shipment inspection. But we will choose countries,” Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. told reporters late Wednesday.

He added that the administrative order will be implemented in the next three months.

Mr. Laurel said pre-shipment inspections are necessary as the Philippines still lacks the means to inspect imported farm goods at the border.

The DA’s cold examination facilities in agriculture (CEFA) are intended to ensure imported agricultural goods are disease-free and to minimize the risks from smuggling.

Imported agri-fishery products need to undergo examination by food regulators overseeing the animal, plant, meat, and fisheries industries.

He added that the DA has four planned facilities in Bulacan, Manila, Subic, and General Santos.

The Angat, Bulacan facility is set to start operations during the first two months of next year.

“The one in Angat was done by a private company… maybe by January or February next year, it will be running,” Mr. Laurel said.

The DA signed a memorandum of agreement with Pacific Roadlink Logistics, Inc. to construct the facility in Bulacan.

He added that the three other facilities will start construction by September, taking about a year to complete. — Adrian H. Halili

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