Sato seeks bird flu outbreak economic impact study

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Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda placed the potential losses to the poultry sector at P2 billion. (Pasreform image)

REP. Josephine Ramirez “Nene” Sato of the Lone District of Occidental Mindoro has urged concerned government agencies to study the possible long-term economic impact of deadly animal diseases currently threatening the poultry industry.

The lady solon issued the call following reports of the avian flu outbreak in Pampanga Province, a major producer of chicken and eggs in Luzon.

The vice chair of the economic affairs committee of the House of Representatives (HOR), Sato wants to know the economic impact, as well as budgetary requirements, if needed, to boost the capacity of concerned government agencies in dealing with the problem.

Pampanga has been placed under a state of calamity following the outbreak. Around 400,000 fowls would have to be put down because of the outbreak.

News reports said Governor Lilia Pineda placed the potential losses to the poultry sector at P2 billion.

Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol has ordered the restriction of poultry products in the entire Luzon area, to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Prevention is better than cure. I laud the DA for quickly responding to the situation. However, we need to be more prepared for the worst-case scenario,” Sato, also a member of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) said.

Sato said National Government Agencies led by DA, particularly the Bureau of Animal Industries (BAI) and National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Health (DOH) should come up with separate studies on the impact of the avian flu virus which now pose a clear and present danger to the country’s multi-billion-peso poultry industry.

“We should also take a pro-active approach to prevent other deadly animal diseases that may threaten other agriculture sub-sectors like our swine and cattle industry. Its impact to our industry stakeholders, particularly small farmers, and the consumers in general, must be known,” Sato said.

She said the on the part of the DOH, it should now seriously take steps to promote public health safety and the welfare of general public.

“We should be fully informed of threats to public health. What are the risks and who are the most vulnerable sector that should be protected?” Sato asked.

Sato said the NMIS should make sure that no chicken meat products will be sold in the market that may expose consumers to undue public health risks.

On the other hand, she said the DOST should come up new studies, as well as recommended solutions to the problems brought about by deadly animal diseases. #

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