San Agustin, Pili, Camarines Sur---The Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol celebrated March as Rabies Awareness Month with a series of activities in the Bicol Region to create awareness to the public regarding the dangers of rabies and its control.

For this year, the DA along with the STANDZ-Rabies Project, DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), World Organization of Animal Health (OIE), Australian Aid, DOH, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Education (DepEd) conducted a number of activities to celebrate the Rabies Month with the theme “Rabies Iwasan, Alaga’y Pabakunahan”.

 

Last year, there were 19 human and 21 animal rabies cases reported by the DOH and DA respectively which show that rabies is still endemic in the Bicol Region.

According to the Regional Rabies Coordinator and Chief of the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory Dr. Rona Bernales, rabies eradication is a multi-sectoral collaboration and each sector should work hand-in-hand to achieve the goal of Rabies-Free Philippines in 2020.

In Bula, Camarines Sur, the Training on the Strengthening of the Rabies Eradication Program was attended by more than 30 barangay officials. Topics discussed include how to report a biting incident; to make a systematic form of accurate and on-time reporting; the practical inter-sectoral linking; and the composition of the Barangay Rabies Prevention and Control Committee (BRPCC).

The Team also assisted in the organization of the Municipal Rabies Prevention and Control Committee (MRPCC) with members from the LGU and representatives of the DA, DOH, PNP, DepEd and DILG through the Executive Order No. 15 series of 2017 signed by Municipal Mayor Amelita Ibasco. The MRPCC committed to strictly implement the ordinance and to enforce impounding activities by the year 2018.

Bula Municipal Agricultural Office, DA and the CBSUA also conducted a free spay-castration of pet dogs; anti-rabies vaccination and information campaign in Palsong Elementary and High Schools.

Meanwhile during the Responsible Pet Ownership and Rabies Awareness Seminar conducted in Balatan, Camarines Sur, Mayor Ernesto Bagasbas expressed his support to the Rabies Eradication Program and suggested that a barangay assembly be held for proper cascading of information to the constituents. It was participated in by more than 40 barangay officials and representatives from the government agencies. Marilou Parce of Nabua Animal Bite Treatment Center (ABTC) said the bite victims should be diligent in complying with their scheduled post-exposure prophylaxis. The ABTC staff are available even during holidays and weekends to attend to bite patients.

On same municipality, the team together with the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA)-College of Veterinary Medicine assisted in the Bayanihan Laban sa Rabies ng Camarines Sur and Mass Dog Rabies Vaccination. It was conducted in barangays Camangahan, Pararao, Luluasan, Siramag, Duran, Laganac, Tapayas. This activity is conducted every Friday of March.

The Naga City Veterinary Office headed by Dr. Junios Elad spearheaded the Naga City Pet Day and Rabies Technical Updates. This activity is held every second Sunday of March according to the Proclamation No. 2016-001 signed by Mayor John G. Bongat. Events include a Dog Walk; stickers with this message “This home is Rabies protected” were posted in doors and gates of houses to show that the dogs in the house was vaccinated in barangays Concepcion Pequena, Tinago and Dayangdang; castration, deworming and vaccination; a training on dog catching for barangay tanods; and an information-drive on Republic Act Numbers 9482 and 8485.(Jayson M. Gonzales & Dr. Mardi M. Caniban).