DA to probe 'quarantine violation' involving Raffy Tulfo, OFW

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CNN Philippines (Metro Manila, May 25) — The Agriculture Secretary defended his own men in a recent altercation with a broadcast journalist over confiscated cans of luncheon meat from an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) coming from Hong Kong.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol said, in a recent Facebook post, that the quarantine officers that broadcaster Raffy Tulfo lambasted in his radio program were just doing their jobs.

"Worse, Raffy Tulfo used his influence as a media man to have the confiscated items released by the Bureau of Customs and returned these to the OFW who went to his radio program to complain," Piñol said.

He explained that what occurred was a violation of quarantine laws, as the Bureau of Animal Industry is currently on the lookout for pork and pork processed products that come from countries with an outbreak of African Swine Fever.

"What happened was a serious violation of our Quarantine Laws and I will have to order an investigation," Piñol said.

The Department of Agriculture will ask for help not just from its quarantine officers but also the Philippine National Police to track down the OFW who planned to bring the canned goods to Ilocos.

People who bring potentially infected pork back from countries with African Swine Fever can face a fine of ₱200,000. The Agriculture Secretary added that only quarantine officers from BAI are allowed to confiscate such goods.

African Swine Fever is currently decimating China's pork industry, leading to an estimated death of up to 200 million animals through both the disease and culling as of 2019.

The virus has since spread to other Asian countries like Cambodia and Vietnam.

READ: Fever could kill a third of China's pigs. That's almost as many as live in the U.S. and Europe combined