SAN AGUSTIN, Pili, Camarines Sur—The month of March is celebrated as Rabies Awareness Month in accordance with the Executive Order No. 84, series of 1999 that focuses on responsible pet ownership and nationwide pet vaccination which will make Philippines Rabies-Free by year 2022.

This year, the theme is “Rabies ay iwasan, alagang aso’t pusa ay pabakunahan”.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is 100% fatal though 100% preventable. It occurs after a bite or scratch by an infected animal, like dogs and cats. Rabies is endemic in the country so there is the need for animals to be given vaccination every three years.
The Department of Health reported that rabies is responsible for the death of 200-300 Filipinos annually. That is why the vaccination of animals is crucial for the prevention of rabies cases in humans.

The Department of Agriculture-Bicol has already distributed 3805 animal rabies vaccines out of 8182 allocation for the provinces of Camarines Sur, Masbate, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon and Albay. 
According to the Regional Animal Health Coordinator Dr. Jo Bañadera, the Enhanced Community Quarantine which resulted to lockdowns in various provinces hindered the distribution of these vaccines. However, she is hopeful that after the ECQ, the vaccines will be distributed to the provinces as a culminating activity of the Rabies Awareness Month celebration for 2020.

The vaccines came from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and DA-Bicol Livestock Program. (jaysonmgonzales) (photos by Mariel Tud).