Bird flu outbreak feared to weigh down poultry sales

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2017 05:21 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2017 06:46 PM

Poultry vendor Cynthia Palisoc in her stall in Nepa Q Mart. Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

QUEZON CITY - At around noon on Friday, Cynthia Palisoc was shooing away mosquitoes from the few more kilos of chopped chicken pieces she was trying to sell before she shuts her stall at one of the biggest wet markets in the city.

On average, Palisoc said she could sell only about 50 to 100 heads of chicken per day.

But with the reported bird flu outbreak in Pampanga, vendors like Palisoc fear their sales would further plummet as it usually does when there's news about a poultry-related illness or virus.

This, despite Palisoc getting her supply from Bulacan.

"Wala naman po sa amin dahil hindi naman lahat doon ang pinagkukuhanan. Iba-ibang lugar naman," Palisoc told ABS-CBN News.

According to NEPA Q Mart's management where Palisoc maintains her stall, chicken sold in the market mostly comes from Bataan and Tarlac, and some from Nueva Ecija and Pampanga. 

None, however, come from San Luis town, where the virus was recorded.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said earlier in the day that the Philippines has recorded its first bird flu outbreak after around 37,000 fowls, mostly quail and ducks, died of the Avian Influenza Type A Subtype H5 in San Luis town.

Most of the affected farms are layer poultry farms that produce table eggs, the official said.

Piñol said around 200,000 fowls would be "eliminated" to prevent the spread of the virus.

Describing Piñol's announcement as "eager beaver," industry group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura called for a verification of the claim as it warned it would impact the local industry.

"Ni hindi inisip (ng) DA (Department of Agriculture) ang impact nito sa local poultry industry, basta-basta sila nag a-announce without consulting the industry," group president, Rosendo So, told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

"Tests may result in false positive as well as false negative. It should be subjected to confirmatory tests... Normally, DA does it in Australia," he said.

So said the same instance happened in 2004 when an initial positive test was negated by a confirmatory test in Australia. 

"That should be the protocol," he said.