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PIA Press Release

RP still bird flu free, says DENR; Aklan wetlands monitored for migratory birds

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (6 February) -- The Philippines is still bird-flu free, but the Department of Environment and Nnatural Resources (DENR) here, together with other concerned government agencies, sustains monitoring activities of wetlands in the province frequently visited by migratory birds as part of the agency's mandate to prevent the entry of bird flu in the country.

The Philippines is taking extra care and measures in preventing entry of bird flu in the country, and one of these is the continuous monitoring of wetlands, as infected migratory birds might mingle with local birds and domestic poultry.

Once the country's poultry industry gets affected by bird flu, the country's economy will also suffer, as chicken and other poultry products are major components of the Philippines' booming food industry.

Derlito Rico, Environment Management Specialist of DENR-Aklan said monitoring of Aklan's wetlands is further intensified with the agency's observance this month of World Wetlands Day.

Rico said Aklan is host to a number of wetlands distributed in different municipalities of Aklan, which are frequently visited by wild birds as they migrate to the Philippines when their countries of origin get unbearably cold.

The DENR here emphasized that besides being useful to migratory birds, wetlands provide other benefits like food, water for farms and as catch basins for water from various sources.

The DENR is also sustaining the country's Green Philippines Project, which is seen by Secretary Lito Atienza as one of the country's strategies to help alleviate the negative effects of climate change and global warming.

Very recently, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called on the people to unite to address the challenges of global warming.

In her speech at the First Ibon-Ebon Festival in Candaba, Pampanga, one of the most important wetlands in the country, the President said the Philippines is an island nation and the "rising seas due to global warming would affect us."

She said that from rising tides, to changing weather to deforestation and pollution of the air, sea, land, the challenges of the environment at this time of climate change are great.

In Aklan, the Green Philippines Highway Project starts from Caticlan, Malay, Aklan to Cabangila, Altavas, with roadsides planted to trees, and ornamental/flowering plants aimed to beautify the route of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SNRH) of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as well as to help eliminate air pollution in the roadsides caused by vehicles emitting harmful gases, and to help cool the air. (PIA) [top]

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