November 16, 2023


Governor of Cebu, Philippines, implements stringent measures to safeguard poultry industry against avian influenza




Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu province, the Philippines, has issued an executive order which imposes restrictions on the entry of game fowls and pet birds lacking proper documentation as part of the provincial government's effort to prevent avian influenza (AI) from infecting the local poultry industry, Philippine News Agency reported.


This move follows the Department of Agriculture's confirmation of an AI outbreak in March 2022, prompting the provincial government to take decisive steps to safeguard Cebu province's PHP 12 billion poultry industry.


Executive Order No 26 encompasses a range of measures, restricting the entry of live birds, including day-old chicks, pullets, ducks, quails, and pigeons, from regions within the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao) and other countries affected by AI.


Governor Garcia outlined stringent requirements for those bringing in birds, necessitating the submission of a veterinary health certificate, veterinary shipping permit, AI-negative result through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, and a certification affirming "no AI infection" from the province or area of origin.


Wild bird importers must additionally provide a local transport permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


The transport of domestic poultry products into the province is permitted, but shippers must present a meat inspection certificate from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and a veterinary shipping permit.


Imported poultry meat is allowed with a certificate of meat inspection (COMI) from the NMIS, while processed and canned poultry products require a license to operate and certificate of product registration from the Food and Drug Administration.


Table eggs, salted eggs, and quail eggs must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate and a negative AI test through RT-PCR, according to the executive order.


For game fowl owners bringing in embryonated eggs and hatching eggs, the same certifications, shipping permit, and a certification of Ultraviolet Light Disinfection are mandated. An AI-negative result of the RT-PCR test is also required.


Governor Garcia said that live birds imported from AI-free countries with Cebu as their final destination may be allowed entry, provided they are accompanied by necessary documents, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures, import clearance, landing permit, notice of quarantine, and veterinary permit.


All imported birds and poultry products must receive prior approval from the Office of the Governor and coordinate with the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian, as stipulated in the order.


The executive order also mandates that chicken dung must be dry, securely packed in sacks, covered with plastic and canvas before transport, while transhipment of live birds from AI-free areas within the Philippines is permitted.


Governor Garcia has mobilized the Barangay Animal Health Aides to monitor risk areas, with support from the Philippine National Police in implementing the order.


-      Philippine News Agency