Chicken shipment from Luzon intercepted in CDO amid avian flu ban

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 16 Aug) – Quarantine officials on Tuesday intercepted at the port here a 21-ton shipment of dressed chicken from Luzon amid a ban issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA) because of the discovery of avian flu in Pampanga.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol made this announcement in Manila as he ordered a full investigation of the origin of the shipment.

“We are looking on why the shipment was able to sail despite our quarantine order,” Piñol said.

On Aug. 15, the DA banned chickens, birds, fowl or any of their byproducts from Luzon to be transported to Visayas and Mindanao following the outbreak of avian flu in Pampanga.

Local agriculture officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitiveness of the issue said the shipper presented a DA shipment order dated Aug. 14, a day before the quarantine order took effect.

Specimen from the shipment is currently being tested in the laboratory of the Bureau of Animal Industry at the port here in Barangay Macabalan.

The shipment caught agriculture officials by surprise, leaving many to wonder whether Luzon traders are shipping their animal stocks to cut their losses from the avian flu.

“This should not have happened because a quarantine order is in effect,” said Hector San Juan, chief of the city’s agriculture office.

San Juan said they will have to recheck the supplies of chicken currently being sold in the local markets.

Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Emano also ordered quarantine checkpoints near the Laguindingan airport to strictly monitor incoming shipments. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)