Dagupan on alert due to avian flu in Pampanga


DAGUPAN CITY,  Aug.12 — Monitoring of the markets in Dagupan was intensified since Friday night following the reported outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu in San Luis, Pampanga where some 38,000 chickens from various poultry farms already died and 500,000 more were to be mass slaughtered in a bid to control the outbreak.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol did not hesitate to announce the outbreak when he addressed the Luzon Mango Stakeholders Forum at the Sison Auditorium in Lingayen on Friday based on the confirmation made by by an Avian Flu Monitoring Task Force from his office.

City veterinarian, Dr. Michael Maramba, visited various markets in Dagupan on Saturday and assured consumers here and elswhere in the province that dressed chickens being sold in the local markets are all free from avian flu.

He revealed that upon learning the outbreak, he immediately coordinated with Pangasinan Provincial Veterinarian Eric Perez and learned from him that since Friday afternoon, all the borders of Pangasinan with neighboring provinces have already been alerted to prevent the entry of contaminated chickens.

In fact, quarantine checkpoints are now up 24/7 in eight entry points of the province to prevent the transport of chickens to Pangasinan from the outside .

The quarantine checkpoints manned by policemen, veterinary personnel and LGU personnel are located in Barangay Aloo in Umingan, Carmen in Rosales, Bakit-bakit in Rosales, Bayambang, Mangatarem, Infanta, San Fabian and Sison.

Dr. Maramba already informed Mayor Belen Fernandez about the outbreak of avian flu in Pampanga so the local government can devise necessary measures to further ensure the safety of consumers in the city.

He admitted that the chickens being sold in the markets of Dagupan are coming from adjacent towns of Pangasinan where there are poultry farms, especially Bugallon,  where there is chicken dressing plant.

There is no poultry farm in Dagupan, he added.

At the same time, supply of dressed chickens  getting into Dagupan is expected to dwindle as a result of the outbreak of avian flu in Pampanga, Maramba said.

He said that Dagupan is consuming thousands of heads of dressed chicken daily,sourced from the Malimgas Public Market, the privately-owned CentroMart and meat shops of various malls in the city.

The shortage, he added, will be felt more intensely beginning September when Christmas holiday is nearing when there is higher demand for chicken meat, he added. PNA-northboundasia.com