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Bishop backs Philippine pork ban with migrant warning

Call goes out to overseas workers not to send home canned meat amid fears over African swine fever

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

Published: May 31, 2019 07:58 AM GMT

Updated: May 31, 2019 08:01 AM GMT

Bishop backs Philippine pork ban with migrant warning

The Philippines has banned the importation of meat products from at least 16 countries to prevent the spread of the African swine fever virus that could potentially decimate the local meat industry. (Photo by Joe Torres/ucanews.com)

A Catholic bishop has expressed support for a Philippine government ban on pork from at least 16 countries, by calling on migrant workers not to send or bring any canned meat products home.

The call comes amid fears over the threat posed to the country’s pork industry by the spread of African swine fever in several parts of the world.

Although not a threat to humans, the hemorrhagic disease is highly contagious and extremely deadly among pigs.

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Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said Filipino chaplains serving in several countries have been informed already to advise Filipino migrants on sending or bringing back food items.

"For safety and health reasons we informed our chaplains to persuade our [migrant workers] not to send nor bring home any canned meat goods," said the prelate.

Bishop Santos said Filipino workers abroad should instead save and send only "necessary items such as school supplies and clothing."

An estimated 10.2 million Filipinos work abroad.

In January this year, the Philippine government reported that personal remittances from overseas Filipino workers stood at US$2.75 billion, 4.4 percent more than the US$2.38 billion sent home in the same month last year.

Aside from sending money back home, most Filipinos abroad send goodies, including food packs, to their families as gifts during special occasions.

Earlier, the Philippines' Bureau of Customs confiscated canned meat products brought home by a migrant worker from Hong Kong.

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered a ban on all processed pork meat products imported from China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium.

Nine more countries were added to the list of nations where processed pork is banned for importation due to suspicions of African swine fever virus.

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