DENR 4A warned on bird flu outbreak, calls on public to protect migratory birds

DENR 4A warned on bird flu outbreak, calls on public to protect migratory birds

Chinese Egret found roaming around the Laguna Lake

          The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs, Atty. Jonas R. Leones, alerted the DENR CALABARZON Region, along with all other regional offices, regarding the Avian Influenza outbreak in the province of Pampanga which was reported by the Department of Agriculture (DA) thru a television program aired last August 11.

          The DA-Bureau of Animal Industry issued on the same date a temporary ban on the movement of live domestic and wild birds, including its products such as poultry meat, eggs, semen and manure, from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao to prevent further spread of the disease.

          Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defined Avian Influenza, also known as “bird flu”, as an infectious bird disease caused by Type A Influenza viruses which commonly infect poultry such as domestic chickens and ducks, and many types of wild birds.

          According to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), wild migratory water birds worldwide naturally carry these viruses but in a low pathogenic and harmless form. However, these viruses can turn into a harmful, high pathogenic form when such bird species come in contact with a crowded and unhygienic poultry farm. The harmful virus can quickly spread among the poultry and wild birds, and may soon cause its death.

         “While the poultry part of the issue is under the mandate of DA, our concern here is the wild migratory birds,” said DENR CALABARZON Conservation and Development Division chief Oliver B. Viado in a radio interview as part of the information campaign of the office about the bird flu epidemic.

          Migratory birds are bird species which constantly migrate to various countries and continents in order to survive. In the Philippines, the bird migration season is from late September of the current year to March of the following year. These birds rest along wetlands such as swamps, marshes, intertidal and coastal areas, rivers, ponds and lakes, and forests.

          CALABARZON has 45 migratory bird sites: three (3) in Cavite; nine (9) in Batangas; 10 in Laguna; and 23 in Quezon. Viado said Chinese Egret is one of the most common migratory bird species annually roaming around the region.

          "There is a directive from the DENR Central Office, particularly, from the Office of Undersecretary Leones to closely monitor the said migratory bird sites so as to check whether there are any incidences of wild bird die out," Viado said. He emphasized that the Department always implements the "no touch" protocol whenever they observe dead wild birds, and reports such observation to the DA.

          "We were also directed to suspend the issuance of all transport permits for any wild bird species to and from Pampanga and nearby provinces," Viado relayed.

          He mentioned also that they have already alerted all wildlife traffic monitoring unit checkpoints in CALABARZON to strictly enforce measures for this matter, and to stop and immediately report occurrence of wild bird transport passing through or into the region.

          The DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), on the other hand, released an advisory calling on the public to help protect the migratory birds as these birds are not the culprit of the flu but rather a victim also like some domestic birds.

          The DENR-BMB strongly advised the public to stop culling, poisoning or chasing away migratory birds as these practices are proven ineffective and counterproductive; avoid handling any sick or dead wild birds; and keep poultry and domestic animals separate from wild birds and other wildlife.

          "As of now, bird flu incidence is not yet observed in the CALABARZON region since the outbreak in Pampanga, but we urge the public to immediately report to the DA any observation of dead wild birds and poultry in order for the said agency to determine whether the death of these birds are caused by the flu or not, and consequently apply proper measures to prevent disease outbreak," Viado said.


Stop flying party balloons, DENR-Calabarzon appeals to public

By Saul Pa-a  January 5, 2019, 11:29 am

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna -- A top official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 4A (Calabarzon) on Friday appealed to local government units (LGUs) and the public to refrain from flying balloons on special occasions.

“Sa rehiyon ng Calabarzon, nais naming hikayatin ang mga Pamahalaang Lokal na ituring na littering ang pagpapakawala ng lobo dahil doon na rin naman ito patutungo (In the Calabarzon region, we are appealing to the local governments to consider the release of balloons into the air as littering as it would end up this way, anyway),” DENR-4A Executive Director, lawyer Maria Paz G. Luna, said.
Luna told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that they already ordered funeral homes and other party or event organizers to stop releasing balloons into the air.

“Maaari po kaming mag-file ng kaso ng paglabag sa RA 9003 (We could file a case for violation of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000),” she warned.

Flying balloons has become a practice for many Filipino families during funeral rites, believing that these contain their messages of love to the departed.

Luna, however, said this does not mean that the balloons would reach the skies.

“Hindi kaya't ang ibig sabihin noon ay sa purgatoryo ninyo ipinadala ang mensahe? Siguraduhin pong aabot ang mensahe sa mahal sa buhay at hindi sa purgatoryo. (But could this mean that the messages had been sent instead to purgatory? So, make sure the message would really reach your loved ones and not end up in purgatory),” she said.

The move came after the Cove Manila Balloon Drop at the Okada Hotel Manila, an event that would release some 130,000 balloons to usher in the New Year, drew flak from netizens.

The DENR earlier ordered Okada to cancel the event.

In observance of the National Zero Waste Month this January, the department has been promoting environment awareness and action among the citizenry and institutionalizing public participation in the development of national and local integrated, comprehensive and ecological waste management programs.

Luna also advised the public to send their complaints on littering - from releasing balloons to illegal garbage disposal - to DENR-4A through text +639456215007 or +639083340224; or email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post the photo/message of such violations through or hashtags #DENRCalabarzon and #TayoAngKalikasan. (PNA)


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