• Agriculture chief orders halt to cockfighting in Pampanga amid bird flu outbreak


    AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has appealed to cockfighting enthusiasts in Pampanga province to temporarily stop cockfighting to prevent the avian influenza outbreak from spreading to the province.

    “For effective containment of the avian influenza virus, we discourage the movement of fowls, including fighting roosters, for the next two weeks,” Piñol told The Manila Times in a text message on Thursday.

    “The enforcement, however, is left to the judgment of the local executives,” the Agriculture chief added.

    The Cabinet official was in Pampanga on Thursday morning to meet local executives and Bureau of Animal Industry officials from Central Luzon Region to lay down preventive measures and on how to stop the threat of virus spreading to nearby provinces.

    A team headed by the Bureau of Animal Industry will be created to inspect all poultry farms in the province, Piñol said.

    The agriculture chief added that security efforts have been intensified in the province, and this included spraying of disinfectants and proper disposal of chicken waste.

    Piñol said that, in the next two weeks, he would lift the ban on the shipment of fowls from Luzon if there were no reported cases of mortality in poultry in the province.

    “We will lift the ban of the shipment of fowls within two to three weeks if there are no other incidents,” he said.

    Piñol said that around 600,000 chickens in Pampanga would be culled to help prevent the spread of the H5 avian flu virus.

    The agriculture department assured poultry farmers that they would be compensated for the culled chickens at P80 per head and offer them recovery package.

    It put at P52.8 million the total compensation for the affected poultry farmers.

    Piñol said the Philippine Army would deploy hundreds of personnel in the town of San Luis, Pampanga, to help the DA in the culling of fowl affected by the H5 avian flu virus.

    He added that he asked the Army to help them depopulate the farms after more poultry farmers outside the one-kilometer radius controlled zone in San Luis opted to surrender their birds to the government for culling in order to tide them over and help in stopping an avian flu outbreak.

    The agriculture department has also asked Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald de la Rosa for more police personnel to man quarantine stations.

    Piñol said 20 personnel from the BAI would be deployed for surveillance within the controlled zone.

    The bird flu outbreak in the country, according to the agriculture chief, only has “minimal effect” on the economy.

    He also urged poultry farmers from other parts of the country to intensify their production to make for any shortfall caused by the avian flu outbreak in Pampanga.



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