DA bans fowl shipments from Luzon amid bird flu outbreak

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) banned the shipment of fowls from Luzon to other parts of the Philippines following a bird flu outbreak in the province of Pampanga.

"I have ordered the ban of the shipment of fowls from Luzon to other parts of the country," Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a statement on his Facebook account.

He, however, clarified that the order does not cover chicks, hatching eggs, and other fowls from other countries coming into Luzon or other areas. The importation would still continue, provided that "stringent quarantine protocols" are observed.

"This means that chicken brought in from the United States intended for shipment to the Visayas or Mindanao may not be taken out of the boxes and must be loaded directly into the connecting flights," Piñol said.

The DA chief said at least 200,000 birds, chicken, ducks, quails, pigeons, and fighting roosters in Pampanga are already being gathered for slaughter. Poultry farmers or owners would get compensation of P80 per chicken killed.

Piñol said there would also be a loan package available for the farmers affected by the outbreak.

In the next 21 days, the DA will send "sentinel birds" to affected farms to check if the virus is still present.

"If the sentinel birds will not show signs of the disease, the quarantine restrictions will be lifted after 90 days," Piñol said.

No price hike

With the culling of thousands of chickens in Pampanga, Malacañang said it is monitoring the price and quality of poultry products in markets. (READ: Pangilinan warns vs fowl profiteers amid bird flu outbreak)

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella assured the public that there would be "no price increase in chicken meat," as only one area has been affected.

"Concerned government agencies are now looking at businesses that might take advantage of the situation and are monitoring the price of raw and processed chicken meat in the markets," Abella said.

"We must see to it that uncontaminated meat is sold in the markets," he added.

On Friday, August 11, the entire province of Pampanga was placed under a state of calamity after the DA confirmed the avian influenza or bird flu outbreak in the town of San Luis.

The government assured the public that the strain – Type A Sub-Type H5 – that hit the province does not infect humans. Samples taken from workers and residents of San Luis have supposedly not shown any signs of illness. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.