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Region 8 task force sets up "Bantay Ibon" brigades

The Avian Influenza Task Force in Eastern Visayas is putting in place additional measures to keep the Philippines bird flu free, especially because the season for the arrival of migratory birds into the country usually starts in the month of September until the month of April.

Among these measures include the setting up of special task forces like the Bantay Ibon Brigade up to the barangay level to keep a closer watch at the identified migratory sites in the Region, Department of Agriculture Region 8 Avian Flu Focal Officer, Dr. Leo Mira informed.

The Avian Inflluenza Task Force has scheduled the organization of the Bantay Ibon Volunteer in Catubig, Northern Samar on September 16; in Rosario, Northern Samar on September 17; in Leyte, Leyte on September 18;and in San Antonio, Northern Samar on September 18.

Although the wetlands in Region 8, according to Doctor Mira, are not included in the list of 20 critical areas, under the Wetlands approach, tight watch is being conducted in the migratory sites in the Region to include the Ormoc Bay wetland, Tres Marias Wetlands in Palompon, Leyte, Leyte wetland, Lake Bito in MacArthur, Leyte; St. Bernard Mangrove Resource in Southern Leyte; Maqueda Bay wetland and Basey Wetland in Samar Province; Lake Lagbangan in San Antonio, Rosario wetland and Catubig paddies in Northern Samar; and Guiuan wetland in Eastern Samar.

Although this is a continuing activity, there is a need to intensify it as a pre-emptive and proactive measure, Dr. Mira said.

Under the Seaport and exotic approach, the seaports in Allen and Liloan towns are monitored by the Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Committee Unit to prevent the entry of exotic birds from banned origin.

Currently under surveillance in the Philippines are 20 critical areas like Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte; Aparri, Cagayan; Magat Dam in Isabela; Candaba Swamp in Pampanga; Naujan Lake in Mindoro; Bulan and Matnog in Sorsogon; Quezon; Palawan; Olango Island in Cebu; Roxas and Capiz in Panay Island; Himamaylan in Negros Occidental; Surigao del Norte;Lake Mainit Surigao del Sur; in Agusan del Norte; Agusan del Sur; Ligwasan Marsh in Kabacan, Cotabato; General Santos City; Zamboanga del Norte; Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga City. (PIA)

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