CABANATUAN CITY: Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol downplayed the threat of another bird flu scare here even after the culling about 42,000 chickens in a poultry farm detected with the virus and offered farm workers gratuity pay in the wake of another suspected outbreak.
Piñol, on Friday admitted that the virus of yet undetermined type was detected in a poultry farm at Barangay Concepcion in Cabiao town.
However, refused to call it an outbreak because the incident was already contained and discovered only in one farm owned by Peter Siu, a Chinese, while the neighboring two barangay (villages) are being closely monitored.
He said the virus had no adverse effect on humans even the department is yet to determine if it was the same H5N6 subtype found in infected birds during the August 2017 outbreak.
“It [latest discovered avian flu infection]has no effect on humans. There is not outbreak. No alarm, No one- kilometer radius to cull of fowls even seven-kilometer radius [to keep away from]. No quarantine and no quarantine checkpoint [is imposed],” Piñol said after receiving final report from the Department of Agriculture–Region 3 and the Provincial Veterinary Office.
Piñol also assured the poultry owner will get a compensation at P80 per chicken and the affected farm workers will be assisted by the local government unit for job placements and given seeds and farm implement for six months until the situation normalizes.
He added that the alarm caused tremendous losses among the local livestock industry.
Residents have become wary when local agriculture personnel hauled and put the fowls reportedly infected with avian influenza virus in huge plastic bags for culling since Wednesday.
They recalled that last August’s outbreak could have been earlier reported as local officials and poultry farmers noticed the impact of the disease on their fowls in April.
Meanwhile, Cabiao Mayor Ramil Rivera said he would repeal a municipal ordinance on poultry raising requiring owners to put a tunnel bent or tunnel ventilated poultry with fully air-conditioned houses to block bird flu virus.
CELSO M. CAJUCOM