The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus poses a significant threat to the poultry industry, as well as public health. As such, the Philippine government, under the leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., is taking strong measures to combat the spread of the disease. In 2023, the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) has allocated P177.78 million for the Avian Influenza Protection Program, which aims to prevent and mitigate bird flu outbreaks.
The program will focus on mitigating measures before and during outbreaks. The fund will be used for animal disease emergencies and reliable laboratory diagnostics. The DA-BAI will carry out disease investigation activities, quarantine zone surveillance, and culling and disposal of affected poultry animals. The bureau has reinforced control measures to avoid a spike in bird flu cases. Early detection and reporting are encouraged, and the DA is working with partners in LGUs and the private sector for strict and effective protocol implementation.
The presence of migratory birds is identified as a risk factor in the spread of bird flu. The Philippines is a popular destination for migratory birds, which makes the country more susceptible to the virus. As such, farm owners are encouraged to practice strict biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the disease. The DA has temporarily banned the importation of domestic and wild birds and poultry products from countries with confirmed AI virus outbreaks to prevent the entry of the disease into the country.
Philippines Not Yet AI Free
The Philippines has been struggling with bird flu outbreaks since the first case was confirmed in 2004. The country lost its AI-free status in 2018, and the situation has not improved since then. The most recent outbreak was in February 2022, where the DA-BAI reported an H5N6 virus outbreak in a farm in Nueva Ecija. The agency quickly implemented control measures, including culling, disinfection, and quarantine. The DA also assured the public that there was no immediate threat to public health.
Collaboration with LGUs and Private Sector
The DA's success in controlling and preventing the spread of bird flu relies heavily on the collaboration between the government, local government units (LGUs), and the private sector. The DA provides the necessary technical support and training, while LGUs and the private sector implement strict biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the disease. This partnership is essential in ensuring the continued protection of the poultry industry and public health.
The Philippine government, through the DA-BAI, has taken a proactive approach in mitigating the spread of bird flu in the country. The Avian Influenza Protection Program, with its allotted fund of P177.78 million, will be used to implement strict biosecurity measures, disease investigation activities, quarantine zone surveillance, and culling and disposal of affected poultry animals. The DA is also working with partners in LGUs and the private sector for strict and effective protocol implementation. However, the presence of migratory birds continues to pose a significant risk, so farm owners are urged to practice strict biosecurity measures.