Aug 15, 2017

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Piñol dispels avian flu scare; targets to cull infected birds ASAP

San Luis Mayor Venancio Macapagal, Vice-Governor Dennis Pineda, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol and BAI Dr. Ronnie Domingo enjoys eating balut fresh from San Luis amidst avian flu scare in Pampanga. PHOTO BY JUN JASO/PAMPANGA PIO

SAN LUIS, PAMPANGA – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol yesterday started his Tuesday by eating balut, chicken arroz caldo, leche flan, and fried duck – all from this town as he informed the public that the avian influenza in the province is not harmful to humans.

The secretary was accompanied by Vice-Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda, Mayor Venancio “Asyong” Macapagal, and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Veterinarian III Doctor Ronnie Domingo.

Piñol then assured that the avian flu in Pampanga is not as harmful as what is disseminated in social networking sites which spreads fear to public from eating chicken products coming from the province.

“I would like to contradict the public’s belief that the avian flu they know is not harmful to humans. There are a lot of misinformation circulating to the public. There is no way that the avian flu would transmit from birds to humans,” he said.

In a dialogue between the DA, the provincial government, local government unit and the poultry communities here and in nearby towns, the secretary affirmed that the birds within the 1-kilometer quarantine radius from San Carlos village must be culled whether healthy or not. This is to prevent further infestation in other areas of Pampanga and in nearby towns.

“We cannot do anything about it. We must strictly follow the protocol and bury or incinerate all of the birds within the 1-kilometer radius,” he said.

He also added that the poultry products from within the 7-kilometer control radius from ground zero which is in San Carlos are not allowed to be transported outside the vicinity. They were instead given the green light to sell their products within the radius.

The farmer-secretary gave his deepest apologies to the poultry operators because of the billions of profit and capital lost due to the misfortune.

“Of course, it hurts me so bad that we have to experience this, but bear in mind that we are doing this for your own good. We must cull everything that can transmit the virus so that we can save the whole country,” he said.

DA and BAI was ordered to closely coordinate with the provincial government to conduct the inspection and documentation including the proper disposal of the culled poultry.

A new way of disposing culled poultry was suggested as spaces for the burial became unfit form a low-lying town. Incineration of the dead poultry was seen conducive so as to burn even the virus to eliminate the threat of spread.

Voluntary culling was also seen effective as long as the poultry owners present a pair of claws as one count for the culled poultry. This will be used for documentation and easy dispense of compensation.

The compensation for each poultry was closed at P 80 per culled poultry regardless of its original price. DA assured that it is willing to spend millions to aid the ailing poultry industry.