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.

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DENR Calabarzon, on alert for Ompong

       

          Power outage and water disruption. These are the expected consequences of the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong, estimated to make a landfall on the northern portion of the Philippine islands in less than 24 hours.

          In preparation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) is calling for volunteers to help.

          DENR Calabarzon Assistant Director for Technical Services, Arturo E. Fadriquela said the plan is to prepare their field personnel for two packaged services. The first package is to provide chainsaws with skilled operators and porters, and the second one is to deliver fully-charged generator sets.

          Fadriquela, the designated captain for the relief and rescue operations, said they will be in close coordination with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) should their services be needed.

         “Kapag ang hiningi sa atin ay tumulong sa clearing ng area, ang gagawin lang pagpasok sa kalsada, may nakaharang (na puno) itabi, putol, itabi… Wala nang retrieval ‘yon, saka na ‘yon kasi mabilisan ‘yon e. Kailangan kasi ma-clear ‘yung daan para makapasok ang serbisyo, pagkain, tubig,” Fadriquela said.

          He also said they are looking into the possibility of providing go bags to the affected communities, and warm bodies to be of aid in other services. “Kung hindi naman apektado, maging available din ang mga tao natin kung saka-sakaling i-deploy sa mga repacking,” the assistant regional director said.

          “We would like to have an inventory of standby generators and water tanks that people can lend and we can mobilize in areas of greatest need so we are calling on people to let us know if they have one we can borrow” added DENR Calabarzon Director, Atty. Maria Paz G. Luna.

          With regard to the potential garbage accumulation, Luna said “we aim to have as close to a zero waste operation as possible because trash mounds in disaster areas turn into breeding places of pests and germs”.

          The relief and rescue operations are part of the Tayo ang Kalikasan program of the department.

          Willing volunteers may contact the DENR regional office through hotline numbers 09202068610 and 09553912684, email address This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or Facebook page @denr4aofficial.

          The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAG-ASA) has raised public storm warning signal no. 1 for the entire region.

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