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Solon desires a proactive government response to any avian flu outbreaks.

On Thursday, a senator submitted a resolution asking the Senate to launch an investigation into what steps the government could take to stop and contain a potential avian influenza virus spread in the nation.

In submitting Senate Resolution 580, Senator Francis Tolentino stated, “It is high time for the Senate to ensure that risk-based planning, strict prevention protocol, and proactive legislative action are in place to minimize public health risks and fundamentally, to accord our local poultry sector with the support and opportunity as active partners in development and nation building.”

According to data provided by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), nine regions were still afflicted by avian flu as of February 9.

More than 300,000 chicken deaths have been reported since the bird flu outbreak in 2022, according to the BAI report that was presented to the National Banner Program Committee on Chicken and Livestock on February 14.

The World Organization for Animal Health previously issued a cautionary statement saying that the existence of avian flu “may restrict international trade in poultry meat, which can heavily impact economies.”

The first human infection was noted in Ecuador in January 2023, and by May 2022, the A-H5 variant outbreak in wild birds and livestock was reported to have spread to 16 nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada. Additionally, thousands of pelicans and sea lions perished in Peru as a result of this.

According to Tolentino, inventories of imported chicken in different commercial public wet markets in Metro Manila revealed that the chicken was sourced from Brazil, the US, the Netherlands, or Canada and had an expiration date of one to two years after it was produced. It also revealed that the labels on the chicken’s production and distribution dates were missing, that it lacked a sticker from the National Meat Inspection Service, and that it lacked labels indicating its origin.

The terms of Republic Act No. 7394, sometimes known as the “Consumer Act of the Philippines,” are flagrantly broken by the sale of the aforementioned imported poultry meat. In his explanation, he stated that it does not meet the Philippine National Standards on the Code of Hygienic Practice for the Sale of Fresh Agricultural and Fishery Products in Markets and Authorized Outlets.

In addition to posing a “significant threat” to the short- and long-term prospects of the county’s local poultry industry, he cautioned that the high stock of imported poultry products and the unabated importation of finished goods put consumers at risk of other transboundary diseases’ potential negative effects.

Because of the continued importation of poultry products, Tolentino said, “there should be a clear and solid policy from authorities to avert and ward off any possible outbreak of transboundary animal diseases in the country since it will ultimately lead to adverse public health effects and demise of the Philippine local poultry industry.”

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