MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday said the Armed Forces of the Philippines may help the Department of Agriculture in culling about 200,000 fowls affected by the first bird flu outbreak in the country.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government is working on expediting the culling of fowls and clearing of affected areas to minimize losses and hasten the recovery of the poultry industry.
Acknowledging the manpower constraints of the DA, Abella said the AFP “can field more men to cull birds.”
“This is, after all, no small calamity,” he added.
A Philippine Star report quoted Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol as saying that the culling of 200,000 fowls may be finished by Thursday. The agriculture chief said only 18,685 poultry heads in San Luis, Pampanga have been culled since Saturday.
Around 37,000 fowls, mostly quail and ducks, have died of the bird flu in San Luis town, the first outbreak of the avian flu in the country. A sample of the affected fowls have been sent to Australia to determine the specific avian flu strain that hit the country.
To prevent the spread of the virus, a 1-km radius quarantine area within San Luis town will be implemented, while another 7-km radius controlled area has been declared.
The DA has also ordered a ban on the transport of poultry from Luzon to other parts of the country until further notice to control the outbreak.
Officials have said the chickens affected by the bird flu outbreak are layers, or chickens that produce eggs.