The Department of Agriculture (DA) partnered with Pacific Roadlink Logistics Inc. (PRLI) for the construction of the country’s first border inspection facility on its property at General Alejo Santos Highway, Angat, Bulacan.
The DA and PRLI recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the establishment of the Cold Examination Facility in Agriculture (CEFA), which will house state-of-the-art testing laboratories for the examination of all imported animal, fish, plant, and other agricultural commodities.
The MOU signing was led by DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, Senate Committee on Agriculture Chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar, House Committee on Agriculture Chair and Quezon Representative Mark Enverga, and PRLI President Edgar Dominic Milla.
“We must continuously assert our vigilance in protecting industry from pests and diseases that pose serious threats to agricultural productivity in the country. This partnership is a testament of our commitment,” Panganiban said.
The Department allotted P2.3-billion in its 2023 budget for the construction of the said facility, which would include hubs in Cebu and Davao.
The CEFA aims to strengthen the country’s capability to conduct first border inspections and improve its examination of containerized agricultural commodities. It also seeks to prevent proliferation of agricultural smuggling.
Under the MOU, the PRLI allows the government to use for a maximum of 25 years, its 10-hectare land for the CEFA, which will include a laboratory, incinerator, container yard, and truck parking, among others.
The facility will be operated by the DA’s Food Safety and Regulatory Agencies (FSRA): Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).
“We will continue to work to ensure the completion of this project so that we can protect our industry and the many people who depend on it.”
“Consistent with the President’s vision of a prosperous Philippine agricultural sector, we will continue to work to ensure the completion of this project so that we could protect our industry and the many people who depend on it, including the health of our consumers, as the project is deemed to warrant the food safety for the general populace,” Assistant Secretary James Layug said.
Meanwhile, BAI and CEFA Project Director Paul Limson said the construction is expected to be finished within 6 to 8 months.
The facility will initially function as a 24-hour Off-Dock Custom Facility to handle agricultural imports from the country’s two main ports: Port of Manila and Manila International Container Port.
Once operational, the facility is expected to employ about 1,500-2,000 unskilled workers in Bulacan.
Apart from protecting livelihood and ensuring quality and safe food for Filipinos, the said facility is anticipated to create jobs and bring about economic transformation to the province of Bulacan. Once operational, the facility is expected to employ about 1,500-2,000 unskilled workers in the province.
In her message, Villar announced that the national government will set aside a budget for the construction of CEFA to other areas particularly in Southern Luzon.