In a follow-up to the avian influenza situation in the Philippines, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said to Pampanga local chief executives, poultry growers, and bird/fowl industry stakeholders Tuesday, “This is an urgent matter which is a big threat to our poultry industry. We should eradicate bird flu as a country and stop on finding ways to hide its presence.”

Image/Howard the Duck
Image/Howard the Duck

Piñol, who came with other Department of Agriculture (DA) officials and avian flu experts, assured all affected farmers that they will be compensated for every chicken that will be culled.

A compensation of 80 pesos per live chicken will be given to affected growers, on top of the 25,000 peso loan under Survival and Recovery Assistance Program or SURE. Under the credit facility managed by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), 5,000 pesos will be given as grant, while the remaining 20,000 pesos is payable in two years with no interest and no collateral.

Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda has also announced a state of calamity in the province to utilize the calamity funds to help affected farmers and growers.

The virus has already spread in the neighboring barangays of San Carlos and Sta. Rita.

Piñol also announced that 36 farms have volunteered to have their chickens culled as part of the strategies of the government to contain the bird flu virus that has affected farms in San Luis, Pampanga. In line with the recent outbreak, DA has already sought the assistance of the Philippine Army to secure quarantine stations set-up in strategic locations to prevent the movement of poultry animals and products outside the affected areas.

Following the series of events, a one kilometer quarantine area from ground zero which is San Luis and a seven kilometer restricted area radius was implemented wherein movement of live poultry, meat, semen, blood, manure, eggs, feeds, and other similar products has been banned.

Birds, eggs, feeds, and other similar products are directed to be disposed in areas within the one-kilometer quarantine radius. Further, incineration of the said products has also been authorized.

Dr. Ronnie Domingo of the Bureau of Animal Industry said that the strain that was found is Type A H5 and a confirmatory test for N1 group has been negative.

In related news, the Manila Times reported today that two farmers in Pampanga who exhibited symptoms of bird flu infection tested negative, according to the Department of Health (DOH).