Bulacan reactivates Avian Influenza Task Force

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday reactivates the Provincial Avian Influenza Task Force to contain the effects of the Bird Flu virus detected in nearby San Luis town in Pampanga province.

Alvarado, who is the task force chairman, said he has instructed the Provincial Veterinary Office headed by Dr. Voltaire Basinang and the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., to establish 24-hour checkpoints and ensure that transport of fowls like chicken, ducks, pigeons and quails will not enter Bulacan. This, will not compromise the bio-security of the poultry industry of Bulacan who as of this time is safe and not affected by the avian flu case that hit San Luis,Pampanga, according to Alvarado.

Since Saturday, Alvarado said checkpoints has been put in the towns of San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael, Baliwag, Pulilan, Pulilan Calumpit and some exits of the North Luzon Expressway.

The governor also presided an emergency meeting attended by hundreds of stake holders of the local poultry industry in Bulacan where Dr. Basinang instructed them to monitor and immediately report any signs or detection of fowl sickness.

“The Task Force is ready to deploy teams to monitor poultry farms. We are requesting our stakeholders to religiously clean their farms and follow guidelines issued by the Provincial Veterinary Office, “ Alvarado said.

Alvarado said that rigid inspection of farms is needed since Bulacan has also become an “airport” of migratory birds that has become common visitors in nearby Candaba swamp in Pampanga.

He added that “we are regulating the industry in support of the actions of the national government and we will be strictly monitoring the movements of the delivery and transport of all poultry products and check their point of origin because at the same time we do not want the industry to suffer,” Alvarado said.

“Safe pa rin kainin ang mga manok, itik, itlog at maging balot at penoy na galing Bulacan. Siguraduhin lang malinis ang pagkakaluto nito, dapat well cooked,” he explaine.

He also said that 60 percent of the meat, poultry and vegetable supply of the Metro Manila comes from Bulacan that’s why they are balancing the health of the people and the development of the industry.

Alvarado also announced that the Task Force will request Agriculture Secretary to consider the plight of poultry raisers and egg producers whose animals are not infected with the avian flu.

Her said that the Philippine Duck Raisers and Egg Managers represented by Ike Illescas reported that since Friday at least 500,000 duck eggs have not been sold, thus wrecking havoc on duck raisers and egg producers even if their poultry products is not infected by the avian influenza disease.

Illescas said that if this will continue, it will ruin the local poultry and egg industry.

In a related development Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad said the City Agriculture Office has also set up checkpoints to ensure that no movement of fowls will enter the capital city.

“We have been strict even to other meats and we are regularly monitoring meat products that is entering our markets,” Natividad said.

The City Mayor said they are also monitoring petshops selling birds like pigeons and love birds as well game fowls. –EMIL G. GAMOS

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