October 16

SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAM. SUR.  The Department of Agriculture is currently conducting series of consultation meetings with  various stakeholders and partners   in  preparation for the implementation  of the  5-year  Rabies control plan  under the Stop Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses  (STANDZ) Program  funded by the  Australian Government   and the World  Organization for Animal Health or Office International  des Epizooties (OIE) which was launched in Legaspi City last September 1,2014.   Some P40M has been earmarked by the funding institution  for  this project which is being implemented only in the Bicol  region.


                The target is to fast track elimination  of rabies in the region by 2016.  According to Dr. Rona P. Bernales, Bicol regional rabies coordinator, initially the target was to eliminate dog rabies cases in Masbate island and Albay provinces.  But  the project will now also provide support   to Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur   through provision of vaccines and paraphernalia, intensified public awareness campaign promoting responsible  ownership and strengthening  intersectoral collaboration  among partner institutions, NGOs, LGUs and  private sector.   She added  that the island province of Catanduanes is no longer  included in the project as it  has earlier received assistance for its rabies control program  and is awaiting  to be declared rabies-free.  Also, the province of Sorsogon  is currently being  supported  by Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC)  in its rabies control program.

                On  September  a consultative meeting  and planning workshop was conducted   for some municipal agriculturists /agricultural officers, city veterinarians and livestock technicians  who are the frontliners in the implementation of rabies control  program in the municipalities and cities. This was held in Macagang Hotel in Nabua town Initially They were  provided with the  vaccine paraphernalia.

                 On September 30, some 100  officers  and members   of the Philippine National  Police  from the  6  provinces of the  Bicol region attended the  consultative meeting on Rabies Awareness Campaign conducted by the  Department of Agriculture  at Villa Caceres Hotel in Naga City.   

In both consultations meetings the participants were provided  with: updates on  canine or animal rabies and human rabies.  Also discussed were the   salient provisions  of Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-rabies Act;    Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory Services and  Concerns;  Quarantine Rules  and regulations and Animal Welfare Act.

Bernales  explained  that Bicol  in particular Albay and Masbate were chosen as pilot areas for this project  because of the receptiveness and strong support of the  local chief executives to the  anti-rabies efforts  in terms of   enactment  and enforcement  of local  laws and ordinances and  compliance with the  Anti-Rabies Act and provision of budgetary support.

It would be recalled that in the 1990s Bicol region had the highest rabies cases  both in dogs and in humans among all the regions in the country.  But over the  past years  rabies  cases in Bicol has been declining  and  it  has  slid down  to no. 6  among the regions of the country in terms of rabies cases.  With the implementation of STANDZ in the four pilot provinces in Bicol it is expected to contribute to the national eradication efforts of the Department of Agriculture and reinforce rabies elimination in the region (Emily B. Bordado)