MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has lifted the ban on the shipment of poultry and poultry products from Luzon to other parts of the Philippines following the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol made the announcement in a news briefing on Tuesday, August 22.
"Today, on the recommendation of the biosecurity team…and with the conformity of the National Meat Inspection Service, I will be signing after this press conference an administrative order lifting the ban on the shipment of poultry and poultry products from Luzon to other parts of the country on certain conditions," Piñol told reporters.
The conditions are as follows:
Piñol said their main consideration for lifting the ban was the recommendation of biosecurity experts, but they also considered the effect of the ban on the industry.
"I think this was the more emotional consideration – the fact that we also have to listen to the pleadings of the farmers na kung tingin namin na safe na naman, payagan na silang mag-ship ng product nila (that if we think it's safe already, that we allow them to ship their products already)," he explained.
Piñol said the DA will coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, and other concerned agencies regarding the lifting of the ban.
Bong Inciong, president of the United Broiler Raisers Association, said Piñol's decision is necessary to move forward from the effect of the outbreak on the industry.
"Our main agenda here is to restore consumer confidence, producer confidence to really assure everyone that the products we're producing outside of the containment zones are safe, period," he added.
Since the bird flu outbreak was announced last August 11, at least 447,703 birds have already been culled within the contained (1-km radius) and controlled (7-km radius) areas in San Luis, Pampanga.
In Nueva Ecija, meanwhile, at least 61,219 quails have already been culled in the town of Jaen, while another 34,400 layer chickens have been culled in the town of San Isidro.
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.