DUMAGUETE CITY – Vice-presidential aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday said he supports the proposal of the Negros Oriental provincial government to ban the entry of poultry and related products from Luzon to prevent the avian influenza spread in the province.
In an interview with a local radio station, Pangilinan said measures to prevent the entry of avian influenza, also known as bird flu, in Negros Oriental must be put in place.
Pangilinan said implementing these preventive measures “requires political will, experience, and most importantly [mobilization of] local government units, local stakeholders, and communities para sama-sama nating pagtulungang mapigil ang pag-spread ng avian flu.”
“Malaking problema ito pag tumama sa ating mga lugar,” he said.
Pangilinan recalled during the interview that he and his team moved quickly to control the cocolisap infestation in several Luzon provinces which affected 2.6 million coconut trees.
“We had to do drastic measures including PNP checkpoints to prevent the transfer of these [coconut] goods. Ganoon din dapat sa avian flu. Dapat pro-active,” he said.
On March 10, Dr. Alfonso Tundag, Negros Oriental provincial chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), has said provincial authorities have drafted a resolution on the avian influenza containment. He added that the approval of Gov. Roel Degamo is being awaited.
Tundag said provincial authorities proposed in a meeting held on March 9 to ban all poultry and poultry products, such as chicks, chickens, ducks, balut, and salted eggs to Negros Oriental, to prevent the entry of the avian flu.
However, on March 29, the Department of Agriculture announced that the bird flu outbreak in several duck and quail farms in Luzon is under control even as the department has ordered stricter containment measures.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said there is constant and strong coordination among officials of BAI regional field offices and the Department of Health. He said he has ordered an intensified implementation of biosafety protocols to maintain effective control of the avian flu.