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400 soldiers tasked to contain bird flu

By: Aaron Recuenco

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be deploying at least 400 soldiers to help contain the spread of the bird flu-infected chickens in Pampanga.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief military information officer, said they may start deploying troops Thursday today in various areas of Pampanga based on the instruction that would be given by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

He revealed that the agriculture department requested the deployment of around 400 soldiers.

“This is yet to be executed in the sense that we have to gather this particular number of personnel, provide them with the necessary briefing so that they will know what role they would undertake when they are deployed to Pampanga to help,” said Arevalo.

The official said the soldiers will be tapped from the Northern Luzon Command based on the orders given by the top military leadership.

Arevalo said they are yet to receive specific instructions from the DA as to the role of the soldiers, but he said he expects it to be relayed during a briefing with soldiers on Thursday.

He, however, said that the initial instruction that the soldiers might be tasked to help in the slaughtering of bird flu-infected chickens in Pampanga.

Asked if they would come up with 400 soldiers in today’s deployment, Arevalo said they still have to check on the availability of soldiers.

“We still need to populate that number, but it does not mean that we should come up with that number, the 400, at one time. What is important is that we will have to respond to the soonest possible time,” said Arevalo.

Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol has declared a bird flu outbreak in some poultry farms in Pampanga.

The affected areas have already been sealed off as part of the measure to prevent the spread of the virus.