The Provincial Veterinary Office (ProVet) said that avian influenza or bird flu, has a low chance of entering the province of Palawan, but measures are still being implemented to ensure the safety of the million-peso worth local poultry industry.
Dr. Darius Mangcucang of ProVet said Monday that an automatic ban on entry for poultry and products, including eggs, has been implemented through the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to avoid the spread of the disease in the province. Blood samples are also taken on a regular basis to make sure there is no bird flu or highly pathogenic avian influenza.
The blood sample collection is conducted by ProVet to ensure the safety of the province from bird flu, African Swine Fever, and foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease.
“Mababa (ang risk of entry) pero kahit na ganoon ay hindi tayo nagiging kampante. Sa aming laboratory team ng ProVet, umiikot talaga ‘yan para sa blood collection. Pinapadala namin ‘yan sa BAI, sa Bureau of Animal Industry, awa ng Diyos naman ay puro negative naman tayo kahit ‘yong sa ASF. Pati ‘yong FMD, nananatili pa rin tayong FMD-free without vaccination,” Mancucang said.
“Kasama na rin sa (Bureau of) Quarantine natin, meron naman sila directive na kapag nagkaroon ng outbreak diyan sa Luzon, automatic ay hindi tayo nagpapapasok ng mga manok kahit itlog basta galing ng Luzon — automatic ‘yon lalo na kung tayo ay hindi pa infected,” he added.
Mangcucang said that steps are being taken to protect poultry farms in Palawan worth millions of pesos.
He added that bio-security measures by farm owners are important to also protect their farms against bird flu and possible contact from migratory birds that bring the disease to the infected farms in Bulacan and Pampanga.
“Management, kasi ‘yon ang pinaka-importante. Halimbawa meron tayong farms, mas maganda ay may cover na net para hindi napapasok ng migratory birds. Iba kasing migratory birds ay nakikihalo ron sa pagkain ng feeds — high resistant pa naman sila yan sa virus pero maihahawa nila ‘yan sa droplets. Bio-security measure ay i-improve nila para hindi tayo mapasok,” he said.
He added that once avian influenza enters Palawan, stamping-out measures will be implemented, which will affect the livelihood of local farmers.
At the Laging Handa briefing on March 4, agriculture secretary William Dar said during the briefing that bird flu is caused by migratory birds from East Asia, which affected farms in Pampanga and Bulacan.
“Dapat natin bantayan ay mga swampy areas or rivers where migratory birds are coming. Dapat iangat na natin ang surveillance and monitoring. Para kung meron na tayo naobserbahan dito sa ducks, quails o sa poultry, isangguni na agad sa ating municipal veterinarian or provincial veterinarian,” he stated.
In a statement from DA, BAI director Reildrin Morales said the bureau is continuously conducting surveillance activities on all poultry species and that there are still no reported occurrences in chickens and turkeys.