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DA asked to report on bird flu outbreak

By: Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola

The agriculture department’s dilemma on the bird flu outbreak is far from over, said Senator Cynthia Villar, who asked its officials to report to her possible lapses in preventing and addressing the spread of the disease.

Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, told the Department of Agriculture (DA) to submit to her a report on the outbreak of avian flu virus in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija last July before they approve its P60-billion proposed budget for 2018.

“Before we approve the budget, they will make a written report on what happened and so that we will learn from it and whatever things that we have to avoid that in the future,” Villar said in a press briefing in Manila recently.

The senator said the spread of the virus in several poultry farms in Central Luzon could be blamed to the devolution of agriculturist to provincial and municipal levels, as mandated in the Local Government Code. She said local agriculturists might have failed to report to the DA the onset of bird flu in April.

“Our DA only has regional offices. But in spite of the devolution, trainings should have been continuous for municipal and provincial agriculturists. Because they are on ground, they see the problem. If they are skilled, they would not be able to report it. So I told them, there should be continuous training of municipal, city, and provincial agriculturists so that they can be of help during these times,” Villar said.

Villar said she will meet with the DA and other concerned officials soon to assess the spread of the bird flu virus.

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