SUN STAR DAVAO
THE livestock division of the regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said importation of corn and other feed stocks for livestock and poultry is not prohibited even if these are coming from Indonesia -- identified to be a bird flu infected country.
"The importation of corn from Indonesia is not prohibited, it's just that the department is following some measures whenever we import corn from this country," said Dr. Rafael Mercado, chief of the Livestock Division of the DA-Southern Mindanao.
Mercado said there is a memorandum order from the government that measures should be followed in the importation of feed stocks including corn.
"The memorandum says that the feed stocks should not be taken from within 15 kilometers radius kung saan may (where there is) infection ng Avian Influenza, the corn or feed stocks must also be intact in a safe place and upon transport, dapat malinis at na-disinfect ng mabuti ang sasakyan (the vehicle should have been clean and disinfected)," Mercado explained.
He added that the government is extra careful with the products that come from other countries especially for meat and poultry products.
"To protect the people's safety, andyan ang (there is the) Regional Avian Influenza Task Force who monitors the entry of meat and poultry products dito sa (here in the) region," he said.
Avian Influenza, Mercado claimed, has affected the economic condition of Indonesia.
"The latest news said that Avian Influenza in Indonesia has now reached Northern Sulawesi, dati central part lang, so napakalapit na n'un sa (lately only in the central part, so it is already closer to) Manado where we have a scheduled flight once a week," Mercado said.
On the other hand, Mercado said they are on a massive education, communication and information campaign regarding bird flu.
"We should be aware of the threat of bird flu kasi sa Indonesia, according to the report of the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 100 cases na ang na report sa human beings na ma bird flu and millions of chickens and birds died because of bird flu," he said.