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PIA Press Release

P1.2 million for DA XI's bird flu monitoring and advocacy

The Department of Agriculture in the Davao region was granted an initial allocation of P1.2 million for its advocacy and monitoring on the Avian Influenza.

Dr. Jean Bacayo, chief of veterinary and quarantine services of DA said the fund was taken from the P200 million the government allocated as operating fund for Task Force Avian Flu. The Department of Budget and Management still has to approve P2.5 billion to fund a comprehensive program to combat the Avian Flu virus.

The initial release he said will last until next month and budget will be replenished to sustain the campaign against Avian Flu.

"We had tighten our monitoring and put in place the rapid action team and the avian flu task forces at the regional and provincial level," he said.

But we need to bring the rapid action team to the municipal and barangay level to come up with a systematic monitoring, he said.

He said there is also a need to tighten possible entry points of exotic birds that are brought in through the back door that is why coordination with the local government units has to be stepped up.

In fact he said the team was able to intercept about 359 exotic birds last May in General Santos City that were brought in from Indonesia. All the birds were burned as a rule based on the approved steps to treat such cases.

Bacayo said that as part of their monitoring they have prohibited bird-watching activities as of the moment.

The Davao Region is known for the existence of various migratory birds' habitat, which is spread in some of its cities and provinces.

He said one area that is very near to the regional center is at La Paz in Carmen, Davao del Norte and the government has ordered to strictly prohibits bird watching.

"We do not want to take chances as we want to protect our poultry from contamination of the Avian Flu because sometimes people go near these birds," he said.

He said when winter comes the birds from other countries start to migrate to tropical countries like the Philippines from October to March.

But Bacayo said that with their regular monitoring of chicken blood samples results are still negative.

"These are good signs and we want to maintain this to protect the people and the poultry industry as well," he said.

He admitted however that it would be very difficult once the virus reaches us because the moment it is here, poultry in a particular farm with reported Avian Flu has to be terminated. The spread of the virus is fast because of the mode of transmission and deadly, he added. (PIA/pdbanzon) [top]

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