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Poultry, duck raisers get Unilab donations
by Mercedes E. Rullan
Manila Times (January 17, 2006)

UNITED Laboratories has donated drugs, vitamins and disinfectants to backyard poultry and duck raisers, as well as to veterinarians and quarantine officers of the Avian Influenza Task Force, Agriculture Secretary Domingo F. Panganiban announced Sunday.

“The backyard raisers and farm workers can hardly afford such items to prevent them from catching flu and other viruses,” Panganiban said during the signing of two memoranda of agreement covering these donations in simple ceremonies held at the Office of the Secretary yesterday afternoon.

Unilab, the Philippines’ largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, donated 3.3 million tablets of Enervon C multivitamins worth P25 million that will be distributed to frontliners in the fight against avian influenza, particularly those closely operating in the 20 priority provinces or hotspots frequented by migratory birds, the potential carriers of the deadly disease.

Univet Agricultural Products Inc., a Unilab subsidiary, is distributing P500,000 worth of the disinfectant, Microban; antibiotic Vetracin and dewormer Latigo 1000 in the hotspots.

The Bureau of Animal Industry OIC Director Dr. Davinio Catbagan said providing the small gamefowl and duck farmers with these products will help the bureau gain their cooperation in the monitoring operations of the National Avian Influenza Task Force.

“With Unilab’s donation, the farmers will realize that BAI and NAITF have no other interest but to keep their farms free from bird flu and they will readily cooperate,” Catbagan said.

The 20 “hot spots” being closely monitored by the task force are: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Palawan near Quezon and Narra towns, Pampanga (Candaba Swamp), Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, Aparri in Olanggo Island, Cebu, Himamaylan in Negros Occidental, Magat Dam, Ramon in Isabela, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Lake Mainit in Surigao del Norte, Roxas and Capiz in Panay Island, Bulan and Matnog in Sorsogon, General Santos City, Naujan in Mindoro Oriental, Cabacan in Cotabato and the Liguasan Marsh.

Catbagan said, “Blood samples and cloacal swabs taken from poultry population in these hotspots have proved negative of the virus.”

BAI organized the National Avian Influenza Task Force to respond to the threat of the H5N1 (avian influenza) infection on gamefowl and duck and poultry farms in “hot spots” or areas potentially vulnerable to AI strain.

Univet has vowed to help monitor bird farms in the country and in disseminating of information on AI. The Unilab subsidiary has also agreed to subsidize the production and distribution of educational posters on biosecurity and brochures on bird flu.

Meanwhile, Panganiban said AI-afflicted countries—Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia—have repeatedly asked the Philippines to send its experts and help them come up with strategies to minimize, if not totally eradicate, the AI menace there.

“We have to follow protocols and cannot send our people. We are waiting for proper channels to act on their appeal,” Panganiban said.





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