MAKATI CITY — The People’s Republic of China (PRC) donated P7.7 million to the Pampanga government on Tuesday to help the province protect its poultry sector that suffered hard on the heels of the first bird flu outbreak last August in San Luis town.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua handed the check for the donation to Governor Lilia Pineda and Pampanga Second Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in rites held at the PRC Embassy in Makati City.
The handover ceremony was witnessed by San Luis Mayor Venancio Macapagal and Provincial Board Members Rosve Henson, Anthony Joseph Torres, Fritzie David-Dizon and Cherry Manalo, Provincial Veterinarian Augusto Baluyut and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Officer Angie Blanco.
Jianhua congratulated the provincial government for being able to control the bird flu in a brief time.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol declared the outbreak on Aug. 11. President Duterte declared the problem over on Aug. 28, with assurances that poultry products from Pampanga and Luzon, including eggs were safe to eat.
The Pampanga poultry sector lost P192 million as more than 420, 000 chicken, ducks and quails were culled.
“China suffered many cases of bird flu and natural disasters and we feel the same [losses],” Jianhua said.
He considered the donation “small.”
“Please regard this as a token of friendship that has lasted thousands of years,” the ambassador said. This friendship, he said, was consolidated when Arroyo was President, calling that a “golden era.”
The friendship has “dramatically and significantly improved under President Duterte,” Jianhua said, describing this “a new golden era.”
“China is not only a friend of the Philippines. China is also a friend of Pampanga,” he said.
According to him, the donation on Tuesday was a “first step.”
In her acceptance remarks, Pineda thanked Arroyo for helping facilitate the donation.
The governor said the donation would be used to buy and operate a mobile laboratory to test and confirm avian influenza strains.
She said the funds would also be used to improve capabilities to regulate and monitor the local poultry sector.
“Our end goal is to make food safe to the Filipino people,” Pineda said, noting that Pampanga is one of the top five poultry producers in the country.