MANILA - Authorities will confiscate imported fruits, vegetables and meat that will be brought into the Philippines without proper sanitary permits, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Wednesday.
Officials stationed at the country's ports have been stricter in monitoring the entry of fresh produce amid a African swine flu outbreak in other parts of the world, he said.
"Alam ko marami ang magtatampo (I know some will feel bad) but I hope you will understand the dangers that your acts could inflict on Philippine agriculture," Piñol said in a statement, addressing those who would attempt to smuggle or hand-carry such produce without papers.
The agriculture department has been on guard as the Philippine banana industry is suffering from the Panama Disease, which causes wilting, while the hog industry is threatened by the African Swine Flu, Piñol said.
"As the name suggests, the disease originated from another country. How do you think it got here? That is a result of the complacency of Quarantine Officers in the past," the agriculture chief said.
"We are begging for your understanding because we could not exempt anybody from the rule that these products could not enter the country without the needed sanitary permits," he said.
Last month, Piñol sacked several airport officials under the Agriculture department for failing to establish foot baths in all entry points of the country that would help prevent the spread of swine flu.