MANILA, Sept. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- A total of 250 million pesos (4.46million US dollars) was funded to address the potential bird flu threat to the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.
Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban told the ABS-CBN news channel that the fund from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office is tasked to establish the preparedness system to address bird flu.
Fearing the spread of the fatal virus through migratory birds, the agriculture department would allocate 20 million pesos from the total fund to set up checkpoints to prevent the movement of chicken in captivity or migratory birds, Panganiban said.
According the secretary, the department has enforced the tighter surveillance of illegal trade of exotic birds in the southern islands bordering the bird-flu affected countries such as Indonesia.
On the other hand, the monitoring system has been also under way for the domestic fowls and migratory birds in the critical areas, he added.
Jean-Marc Olive, World Health Organization (WHO) representativeto the Philippines earlier also said that although remaining free of bird flu, the country has proposed a good preparedness plan to address the potential threat.
The WHO, for its part, will facilitate the exchange of information and development of standards and guidelines on how to deal with bird flu-stricken animals and people, he said.
Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian countries' Red Cross and Red Crescent societies agreed on Tuesday at a Manila-host conference to create a regional disaster management committee to prepare responses to such disasters as bird flu.
The delegations also reached a consensus to set up a disaster management training center in the Philippines, allowing experts toshare experiences in disaster management, train officials, examinehow to cut red tape and allow faster relief and rehabilitation efforts, the conference said in a statement.
Official statistics show that at least 65 including 40 in Vietnam have been killed by the H5N1 strain of bird flu since the virus first broke out to the poultry populations in Asia in 2003. Enditem