Portugal offers help vs ASF, wants Filipino tech workers


THE leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday said that Portugal has offered  help to eradicate African swine fever (ASF) that has been wreaking havoc on the Philippine hog industry.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said the offer was relayed to him by Portuguese non-resident Ambassador to the Philippines, Maria Joào Falcào Poppe Lopes Cardoso, when she paid him a courtesy call at the Manila Golf and Country Club.

Romualdez committed to endorse the matter to the concerned agencies of the Executive Department for appropriate action to advance Portugal’s offer of assistance as well as other initiatives to expand bilateral trade and cooperation in areas of technology and defense.

“These propositions are of great mutual interest to both countries,” the Speaker noted.

According to Cardoso, who is the concurrent Portuguese Ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei, a company in her country is willing to donate expertise and to travel to the Philippines to support the eradication of the swine disease.

She said that Portugal has extensive expertise on the matter, being one of the only two countries in Europe that successfully eradicated ASF.

Reports earlier said that as of June 1, at least 15 provinces in the Philippines have active ASF cases although there were fewer detections in the past few weeks.

Ramon C. Garcia Jr., Portugal’s honorary consul in Manila, confirmed that an organization of pork producers in Portugal is willing to send two experts here in the Philippines to train personnel of the Bureau of Animal Industry in eradicating ASF.

Filipino workers

Meanwhile, Cardoso also said Filipino workers, particularly with their facility in the English language, are also welcome in the booming tourism industry in Portugal.

She said many Portuguese firms, particularly those involved in technology, are interested in doing business in the Philippines.

The Portuguese ambassador said one of their high-technology firms specializing in biometrics and e-gates and currently serving over 100 airports in the world
has entered into a joint venture with a Filipino company to pilot-test their services that could increase the capacity of airports by facilitating the entry and exit of passengers.

Also, Garcia added that the hi-tech Portuguese firm is willing to establish their regional headquarters here in the Philippines and put up a factory, to service the technical needs of all these airports, thus creating jobs for Filipino workers.

Ambassador Cardoso added that another Portuguese firm has partnered with a Filipino firm and is offering its secure communication technology to the Philippine defense establishment.

Romualdez said President Marcos is the foremost advocate of utilizing technology and he is sincerely welcoming foreign investors.

“Besides, it makes a lot of sense for your companies to locate here, being among the fastest growing economies in the world,” said the Speaker.