Thursday, January 8, 2009

RP government conducts exercise to prevent, be ready against bird flu

Thursday, January 08, 2009
By Penaflor Sapnu

ANGELES CITY, Jan. 08 (PNA) -– Not a single instance of bird flu or avian influenza (AI)has ever been recorded or confirmed in the Philippines but the Philippine government does not want to take a gambit just to keep the dreaded fowl disease out of the country.

The Regional Field Unit 3 of the Department of Agriculture (RFU3-DA) has conducted an avian influenza or bird flu table simulation exercises Wednesday in this city.

Held jointly with the DA's Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), the exercise is aimed at testing the operational readiness of national government agencies and local government units in the event that even a single case of bird flu is reported.

Migratory birds flock periodically in some parts of Central Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao islands.

Regional Avian Influenza coordinator Dr. Romeo Manalili underscored the necessity of maintaining the awareness of government agencies, especially at this time of the year when migratory birds from other countries flock to specifics parts of the Philippines to feed and seek refuge from winter cold.

Manalili said that “it is important that the people and the government agencies remain to be (on) alert and vigilant on the possible incidence of bird flu."

He added: "The concerned government agencies are duty-bound to look after the safety and welfare of our people and provide them protection and services in case of any eventuality,” Manalili added.

Although there is a perennial influx of migratory birds to the Philippines which may turn up to be carriers of the dreaded fowl disease that could be transmitted to humans, the Philippines has a zero incidence of bird flu in contrast to some Asian nations where a bird flu outbreak has been reported.

The exercise was participated by various local government units and national government agencies through their city, provincial and municipal veterinarians who are tasked to help prevent any bird flu case in their localities. (PNA)

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