City, province defend burning of P1.4M in eggs

The burning of the 240,000 eggs.*Bacolod PIO photo

Public health and safety will always be the topmost priority of the Bacolod City government, City Legal Officer Romeo Carlos Ting Jr. said on Sunday, February 12.

Ting was reacting to questions raised on why representatives of the Bacolod and Negros Occidental veterinary offices, Bureau of Animal Industry and the Department of Agriculture burned 240,000 table eggs estimated at P1.4 million that were intercepted at the BREDCO Port on February 5.

The destruction of the eggs was in accordance with the Joint Executive Order (EO) of Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson to fight the threat of the Avian Influenza, commonly called bird flu, Ting said.

The governor on Sunday said “I understand the actions of the Bacolod City vet and BAI simply because there was no proof where the eggs came from. In fact the personnel of the delivery truck said that their destination was Iloilo, but instead dropped a number of eggs in Bacolod”.

“They even showed documents that they are in the business of pork. We should not distribute these eggs in our province simply because of its questionable origin. Avian Flu is still a concern,” he said.

Ting said through the city government’s shared commitment with the province, they have given their task forces the authority to conduct necessary precautionary measures to safeguard and protect the public from poultry products such as eggs from areas affected by the highly pathogenic bird flu.

For clearer context, upon checking at the BREDCO port, the shipper of the confiscated items presented a fake shipper’s permit that was also expired because it was dated January 16, Ting said.

The driver alleged that the eggs were from Bantayan, Cebu, but on the expired permit presented, it stated that the eggs came from D. Santillan Piggery Farm in Mancilang, Madridejos, Cebu and are bound for Tabunok Public Market, Talisay City, Cebu, he said.

The declared quantity of eggs was only 20,000 eggs, Ting added.

Ting said there was no way of confirming if the eggs came from an Avian Influenza free area since the shipper failed to present the following requirements:

  • Veterinary Health Certificate;
  • Certification issued by the Provincial Veterinarian certifying that the eggs were sourced from farms with no incidence of Avian Influenza for the past 14 days prior to shipment;
  • Veterinary Shipping permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry;
  • Negative Laboratory Test result for Avian Influenza of the source flock valid within 28 days from the date of sample collection; and
  • Certificate of Acceptance (CA) issued by the Provincial Veterinary Office of Negros Occidental.

“We can’t risk the chances of these contraband items penetrating our markets. Though it often just affects birds, isolated cases of humans being infected with the HSN1 virus have already been reported,” Ting said.

“The poultry industry in the province of Negros Occidental holds a value close to P8 billion and we are one of the top poultry-producing provinces in the country, a clear testimony that dangerous cases like this must not be taken lightly nor be tolerated,” he added.

“The news is full of stories of how the bird flu greatly impacted the poultry industry not only in the country but globally, we can’t afford to place the livelihood of thousands of Negrosanon poultry raisers on the brink of harm”, Ting said.

Negros Occidental and Bacolod City remain Avian Influenza free, he said.

Victorias Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez on Friday, February 10, aired his dismay over the destruction of 240,000 eggs seized at the BREDCO Port.

Benitez, in a post on his Facebook page, said “Kanugon sang pagsunog sang 240,000 nga itlog o 8,000 trays worth P1.4 M sa Bacolod City. Tani may mas maayo nga solusyon para diri (It is a waste that 240,00 eggs or 8,000 trays worth P1.4 million in Bacolod City were burned. There should be a better solution to this).”*

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