Central Luzon holds contingency planning on avian flu
by Emma C. Tabalanza
San Fernando City, Pampanga (10 October) -- The Regional Avian Influenza Task Force of the Department of Agriculture, Regional Field Unit Region III (DA-RFU 3) in coordination with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) recently conducted a three-day contingency planning workshop on avian flu at the Oasis Hotel in Angeles City.
Regional Director Redentor Gatus of the DA said that the government's efforts to prevent the spread of avian influenza in the region have been very successful because of the establishment of AI laboratory in the region.
However, he said that we can not ignore the threat of a possible AI outbreak in the Philippines since the virus has continuously existed in our neighboring countries. At present, Gatus added, the Philippines, Brunei and Singapore are the only Asian countries that have not been infected with pandemic influenza.
The workshop aimed to formulate a responsive and coordinated contingency plan for the government to address the problem on avian influenza to prevent the spread of AI in the region.
The said workshop was participated in by some 36 veterinarians of the DA under the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) from the region's provinces, highly urbanized and component cities and action officers of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC 3) from the Departments of Health (DOH), Education (DepEd), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Labor and Employment (DOLE), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).
Dr. Samuel B. Animas, National Avian Influenza program coordinator and concurrent chief, Animal Industry Division, BAI, said that Region III is the pilot area in contingency planning and it will be replicated in other regions. This, he said, will serve as the blue print to mitigate the spread of AI and to protect the poultry population as well as the human population. He explained that birds from other countries migrate from the month of October up to February at the swamps of Candaba in Pampanga.
The draft of the contingency plan will be presented to the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) for approval and eventual implementation. (PIA-Pampanga) [top]