Cebu curbs entry of pet birds, game fowl amid 'bird flu' scare

By John Rey Saavedra

November 14, 2023, 3:09 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

(PNA file photo)

CEBU CITY – Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an order restricting the entry of game fowls and pet birds without documentation as part of the provincial government's effort to prevent Avian Influenza (AI) from infecting the local poultry industry.

The provincial capitol issued Executive Order No. 26, which took effect on Tuesday, restricting also live birds, including day-old chicks, pullets, ducks, quails, and pigeons from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and other countries affected by AI.

The order came to protect Cebu province’s PHP12 billion poultry industry from AI following the Department of Agriculture’s confirmation of an outbreak in March 2022.

In the EO, Garcia required owners to submit a veterinary health certificate, veterinary shipping permit, AI negative result through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, and “no AI infection” certification to be issued by the province or area of origin.

Those who will bring in wild birds will be required to submit a local transport permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Garcia, however, said transport of domestic poultry products into the province is allowed but the shipper needs to present a meat inspection certificate from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and a veterinary shipping permit.

Imported poultry meat is allowed if the shipper can provide a certificate of meat inspection (COMI) from the NMIS, while processed and canned poultry products are required to have a license to operate and certificate of product registration from the Food and Drug Administration.

The EO said table eggs, salted eggs, and quail eggs must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate and a negative AI test through RT-PCR.

Game fowl owners who are bringing in embryonated eggs and hatching eggs must present the same certification, shipping permit, and a certification of Ultraviolet Light Disinfection from a veterinary quarantine officer at the port of departure and AI negative result of RT-PCR test.

“Imported live birds from AI-free countries with Cebu as their final destination may be allowed entry provided they are accompanied by the necessary documents, including SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) measures, import clearance, landing permit, notice of quarantine, and veterinary permit,” Garcia said in her order.

The order also states that all imported birds and poultry products must have prior approval from the Office of the Governor and must be coordinated with the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian.

“All chicken dung must be dry, placed in sacks, and covered with plastic and canvas prior to transport,” the EO read, adding that transshipment of live birds from AI-free areas in the Philippines is allowed.

Garcia mobilized the Barangay Animal Health Aides to help in monitoring risk areas while the Philippine National Police in the province are told to assist the province in implementing the order. (PNA)