By Roi Lomotan
NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) – The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) here vowed to intensify its rabies eradication program in 2017 in response to a high rabies incidence recorded this year.
PVO Officer in Charge Jaime Villaluz met with field implementers in the different Local Government Units (LGUs) in the province on Dec. 21 in Dumaguete City to discuss the progress of the rabies eradication program in the province.
Villaluz disclosed that the accomplishment so far is at 56.70 percent out of the 80 percent target in the total population of animals to be covered by the program.
He admitted that the accomplishment is below the target set but hopes that the figure will go up once LGUs submit their report for the month of December.
Villaluz explained that 80 percent is the least required percentage of the animal population in a locality to be covered by the rabies eradication program, of which part of it are vaccination, spaying and neutering.
Meanwhile, Villaluz also cited in the meeting that there are 10 animals in Negros Oriental that are found positive with rabies this year.
Five are from Bais City and one each for Dumaguete City, Valencia, Bacong, Sibulan and Ayungon towns.
There is also an increase in the number of animal bite incidents this year compared to last year as reported by Dr. Alice Yap, provincial rabies coordinator of the Integrated Provincial Health Office.
Yap cited that there are 9, 234 animal bite victims recorded this year which is higher than the 8,742 in 2015.
Provincial Veterinarian Villaluz said one of the reasons of a high rabies incidence here this year is the increasing number of stray dogs.
With this, Villaluz said that for next year they will intensify the conduct of massive vaccination for animals, information drive among barangays and hold animal population survey as part of their strategy.
He also said they will also strengthen community involvement as part of their program.
“In our national law on rabies, it was put there that part of the eradication program we should involve the LGUs and barangays. In the barangays they should create an ordinance and at the same time create an anti-rabies task force,” he said.
The Provincial Veterinarian also urged LGU field implementers to make rabies eradication a priority program of their respective areas.
“I hope our LGUs which is the front liner of the implementation of this program would give emphasis on this, since medicines on this are expensive,” he added.
Department of Agriculture-7 Technical Director for Research Joel Elumba who also participated in the activity pointed out that LGUs should make it a priority program since lowering rabies incidents can have a good impact to the community like in tourism.
“We have to re-focus, we have to re-calibrate, we have to enhance our strategies. Programs on rabies eradication program are very important in terms of tourism. If you have a tourist spot in your area then you should control your stray dogs,” Elumba said.
Meanwhile, despite the 50 percentage of accomplishment for the year, Dr. Maria Dulce Vilan also reported in the year-end assessment meeting that the PVO was able to vaccinate 9, 707 and deworm 2, 483 animals in the conduct of their rabies caravan.
Aside from this the PVO also provided vitamin supplementation for 2,504 animals and had 423 and 516 undergo spaying and neutering procedures, respectively. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA website on Dec. 23, 2016)