By Liza Soriano
At the signing ceremony of the P500-M agri import facility project in Subic (Manila Bulletin photo courtesy)
MANILA — Senator Imee Marcos called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to justify its choice of Subic to be the site of a P500-million, laboratory-equipped “cold examination facility” for agricultural imports – the first of its kind in the country.
Marcos fears an increased risk of another African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak if the facility’s first-border inspections are not based in Manila, where most imported meat is sent.
“Ano ang niluluto sa Subic, na ang imported na karne at mga pananim ay inililihis sa Maynila?” Marcos said.
“Ini-import na natin lahat ng pagkain. Pati ba naman sakit?,” the senator added.
Marcos also said that importing food will be more expensive for the 12 million residents of Metro Manila because of the additional cost of delivery from Subic.
A July 18 briefer by the Department of Agriculture recommended the location, financing, and construction of the facility by June 2023 to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who currently heads the agency.
Meanwhile, Marcos pointed out that the location of the facilities would ensure that food safety and security.
“Siyam na taon na ang nakalipas mula nang maging batas ang Food Safety Act, ngunit ang mga inspeksyon sa first-border ay hindi naipapatupad ng maayos. Ang lokasyon ng pasilidad ang susi sa pagtiyak ng kaligtasan at seguridad sa pagkain,” she said.