Read/Post Comment: 0 Posted by Administrator /  31.03.2009
By: Israel O. Rudio, PITO-LU

In its bid to instill responsible and accurate information dissemination among its stakeholders, the Bureau of Animal Industry led by its Officer-In-Charge, Dr. Davunio P. Catbagan, held a two-day seminar and strategy planning workshop entitled “Integrated Risk and Crises Communication: Maintaining the Integrity of Livestock and Public Health” at the Center for Continuing Education, University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) last March 26-27.

In his welcome remarks, Dr. Victor C. Atienza, BAI Assistant Director and Head of the National Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Task Force, congratulated all participants for their respective offices’ contribution for making the Philippines FMD-free for the last three years and three months. He however stressed the importance for the country to be formally declared FMD-free by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) otherwise known as the World Organization for Animal Health. To accomplish the task, all zones located in Luzon shall maintain an FMD-free status even without the use of vaccination and that all hogs will be allowed to enter any of the three existing zones in the island.

During the seminar workshop proper led by Dr. Cleofe S. Torres, Dean of the College of Development Communication-UPLB, participants were advised to be prompt, accurate and responsible in issuing public announcements or any forms of public awareness programs so as not to mislead the public and create any wrong impression. After a discussion and deliberation in the application of risk and crises communication in animal health programs, the organizers and the participants agreed to validate communication strategies such as evaluation and monitoring of all public awareness activities; integrate all national, regional and local risk and crises communication plans; and step-up consumer advocacy on disease-free meat.

The seminar-workshop was attended by Public Information Officers and Veterinarians from Regions I, III and IV-A. The Ilocandia Region was represented by Dr. Jerrim R. Blanco from the Provincial Government of Pangasinan’s Veterinary Office, Mr. Rafael U. Manuel III from the Provincial Information Office of Pangasinan and Mr. Israel O. Rudio from the Provincial Information and Tourism Office of La Union.

Among the Southeast Asian FMD (SEAFMD) member countries, only the Philippines projected to eliminate the disease by 2010. Should the projection materialize, FMD would be the second animal disease to be eradicated in the country after Rinderpest which was eradicated in 1972.

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