Saturday, July 15, 2006

Palawan at Risk for FMD

By Lourdes Escaros-Paet

THE VAST, unguarded coastline of Palawan and the surreptitious shipping of livestock from Luzon by some traders could bring the dreaded foot and mouth disease (FMD) to the province’s soil, to the detriment of its flourishing livestock industry.

Despite the ban imposed on the shipping of livestock from FMD-infested areas like Luzon to FMD-free areas like Palawan, some traders were able to bring in livestock to the province. Two weeks ago, authorities in the municipality of Roxas intercepted a shipment of 14 goats from mainland Luzon, which were unloaded in the port of San Vicente by a boat from Manila.

The trader claimed that port authorities in Manila allowed the shipment, but local authorities found it had no proper papers. Quarantine personnel of the Bureau of Animal Industry and Provincial Veterinary Office destroyed the livestock in Roxas by burning them to prevent possible FMD contamination in Palawan.

Last June 21, another boat from Batangas tried to unload six goats in the pier of Roxas, but local authorities discovered the shipment before it could be unloaded. Municipal Agriculturist Edgar Padul ordered the captain of MV Our Lady of Manaoag to bring back the goats, which were owned by a certain Perlita Dadores from Roxas, to the port of origin.

Upon arrival in the port of Puerto Princesa City, the boat captain claimed that they threw the goats overboard. However, a concerned cattle raiser in Roxas immediately informed quarantine personnel in the city that four of the goats were found in Tumarbong, a coastal barangay of Roxas, while two others were found wandering in the town proper.

The quarantine team proceeded immediately to Roxas and destroyed the goats.

Padul blamed these incidents on the laxity of quarantine officers in the ports of Luzon who, despite the moratorium, allow traders to ship livestock to Palawan.

At present, only Mindanao Island, Masbate and Palawan remain FMD-free in the country, he said.

Published in the July 3-9, 2006 issue of Bandillo ng Palawan


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