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PIA Press Release

Sorsogon gov in full support of allout anti-rabies campaign

SORSOGON CITY (11 September) -- Sorsogon Governor Sally A. Lee pledged full support to the anti-rabies program as she shed optimism on the public's awareness of the threats brought about by the deadly rabies.

In last Saturday's, September 8, observance of World Rabies Day, Lee appealed to dog owners to take part in the anti-rabies program by being responsible pet owners and tag along related policies and laws in the campaign against rabies.

Observance of September 8 as World Rabies Day is spearheaded by the Alliance for Rabies Control and the World Health Organization (WHO) with the hope of reducing the global burden of rabies-related incidences.

This year's theme delved on 'Working Together to Make Rabies History.'

Concerted global efforts of the two international agencies is supported by the Philippine government with the Department of Agriculture (DA) as the lead agency in increasing public awareness and educating people on the dangers and fatal effect of rabies. Worldwide, some 55,000 people died of animal rabid bites, mostly children below 15 years old.

Last May 25, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9482 (Anti-Rabies Act of 2007) which provides for the control and elimination of human and animal rabies, and prescribes penalties for its violation.

Some P100 million was appropriated for its implementation.

Sorsogon history on rabies affliction show that in 1990, about 269 persons in the province were reported bitten by dogs resulting to six human deaths, the highest number of incidences ever noted in the province. This incidence brought the passage of Resolution No. 81, enacting Provincial Ordinance No. 24, otherwise known as Anti-Rabies Ordinance and thereby creating the Provincial Anti-Rabies Committee in 1991.

Two years after, a group of veterinarians from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the Department of Health, formulated and implemented a province-wide Anti-Rabies mass vaccination program that covered 73 per cent of the total dog population in the province, resulting to a three-year period rabies-free Sorsogon.

However, due to budgetary constraints the program was not sustained and in 2003, the DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) declared the province of Sorsogon along with Camarines Norte as rabies infected areas in the Bicol region.

For now, Sorsogon Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Enrique Espiritu took pride in saying that Sorsogon province now has now the lowest rate of rabies incidences in the entire region noting only three human rabies cases from year 2006.

Espiritu however said "we can't afford to just sit on our laurels calling on dog owners to leash or confine their pet dogs, have them registered, vaccinated and sprayed or castrated," as he expressed disappointment vis- -vis the non-publication of a resolution enacting an ordinance which amends Provincial Ordinance No. 24, as amended by Provincial Ordinance No. 04, s. 1993.

This could have helped strengthen the provincial anti-rabies campaign, but its non-publication 15 days after it was approved last year, nullified its implementation, Espiritu pointed out.

He recommended to the LGUs to enjoin, pass and enforce local ordinances on dog population and movement control, maintain dog pound and allocate funds for the purchase of animal and human vaccines and other materials needed to sustain the anti-rabies operation in the province. (BA Recebido, PIA Sorsogon) [top]

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