February 17, 2023
MANILA – President Marcos has ordered the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to tap the P177.78-million allotment for the government’s Avian Influenza Protection Program and roll out mitigating measures before and during outbreaks of bird flu, Malacañang said on Thursday.
The current fund, which is under the BAI, is higher than the allocation the past years, and would also be used to respond to animal disease emergencies through early detection and reliable laboratory diagnostics, the Palace said.
It added that aside from continuously establishing close coordination with the local government units and stakeholders, the BAI will carry on disease investigation activities and surveillance of quarantine zones and will systematically conduct culling and disposal of affected poultry animals at the first sign of detection.
The statement quoted BAI Assistant Director Arlene Asteria Vytiaco saying that the agency has reinforced control measures to avoid a spike in bird flu cases.
According to Vytiaco, the bureau immediately implemented depopulation, intensive surveillance in the 1-kilometer quarantine zone as well as cleaning and disinfection at a layer poultry farm in Santa Maria, Bulacan, after confirming it tested positive for avian flu subtype H5N1 on Jan. 31, 2023.
“We’re intensifying our control measures so that we won’t repeat our experience last year when cases rose in February until March to April,” she said.
The BAI official added that the Bulacan farm was the first layer poultry farm affected by bird flu this year, but the case has been “resolved and contained.”