Dagupan on alert due to bird flu in Pampanga

MONITORING of markets in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, was intensified since Friday night (August 11) following the reported outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu in San Luis, Pampanga.

At least 38,000 chickens from various poultry farms have 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 August 11 based on the confirmation made by an Avian Flu Monitoring Task Force from his office.

City Veterinarian Dr. Michael Maramba visited various markets in Dagupan on August 12 and assured consumers in Pangasinan that dressed chickens being sold in the local markets are all free from avian flu.

He said that 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 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, he said.

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

Maramba already informed Mayor Belen Fernandez about the outbreak in Pampanga, so the local government can devise necessary measures to further ensure the safety of consumers in Dagupan 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 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)