Home Headlines AMID SWINE FLU FEARS Clark hosts 525 Chinese tourists

AMID SWINE FLU FEARS
Clark hosts 525 Chinese tourists

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CLARK FREEPORT — Amid concern over pork products that could bring the African Swine Fever (ASF) into the country, the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) recently welcomed 525 Chinese tourists who arrived on board a cruise ship in Subic Freeport.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier identifi ed China as the closest possible conduit of ASF into the country. “The Chinese tourists disembarked from the MV World Dream cruise ship that docked at the Alava Wharf in the Port of Subic Bay. Passengers of the said cruise ship were then transported by 15 buses to visit various destinations here which include the Nayong Pilipino and Clark Museum. Local goods and products were also showcased during their stay by visiting local stores here,” the CDC said in a press release.

The press release did not say whether representatives from the DA were at hand in Subic during the tourists’ arrival to check against entry of any pork products that could be contaminated with the ASF virus.

The government has been intensifying measures to contain the spread of ASF which may endanger the local hog industry.

In a memorandum order issued recently, Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol said his department has employed and is tightening measures against ASF apart from banning pork and other pork-based products from affected countries.

Experts describe ASF as a “contagious, untreatable and often fatal virus sweeping the global pig population – and future mutations could affect humans.”

ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pigs. Mortality rates are as high as 100 percent.

“While the country has taken steps to address the newest threat to livestock and poultry as early as August of this year, we will be implementing more stringent measures to close the country’s borders temporarily to pork and pork-based products from some countries as reports indicated that the dreaded disease is spreading, especially in China,” Piñol said.

The CDC said that “this Freeport together with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has been continuously creating capacity-building initiatives to address the influx of Chinese tourists and investments here.”

“Recognizing China as one of its major markets for tourism and business-related pursuits, it can be recalled that CDC entered in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to give better services by fully understanding language and culture,” it also said.

This was signed along with SBMA and University of the Philippines -Diliman Confucius Institute (UPD-CI) to train their officers and frontline services staff on learning Mandarin language. The conduct of the said training is seen to give better services to foreign tourists to usher in better communication by understanding their culture, the CDC added.

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