P7.7M from China to boost Pampanga's anti-bird flu program

MAKATI CITY — The People’s Republic of China (PRC) donated P7.7 million to the Pampanga Provincial Government on Tuesday, December 5, to boost its anti-bird flu program.

The donation will help in the province's efforts to protect its poultry sector that suffered hard on the heels of the first bird flu outbreak last August in San Luis town.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua handed the check for the donation to Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda and Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd district) in rites held at the PRC Embassy in this city.

Jianhua congratulated the Provincial Government for being able to control the bird flu in a brief time.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol declared the outbreak on August 11. President Rodrigo Duterte declared the problem over on August 28, with assurances that poultry products from Pampanga and Luzon, including eggs, were safe to eat.

The Pampanga poultry sector lost P192-million as more than 420,000 chicken, ducks and quails were culled.

“China suffered many cases of bird flu and natural disasters and we feel the same [losses],” Jianhua said.

“Please regard this as a token of friendship that has lasted thousands of years,” the ambassador said. This friendship, he added, was consolidated when Arroyo was President, calling that a “golden era.”

The friendship has “dramatically and significantly improved under President Duterte,” Jianhua said, describing this “a new golden era.”

“China is not only a friend of the Philippines. China is also a friend of Pampanga,” he said.

According to him, the donation on Tuesday was a “first step.”

In her acceptance remarks, Governor Pineda thanked the former President for helping facilitate the donation.

The governor said the donation would be used to buy and operate a mobile laboratory to test and confirm avian influenza strains.

She said the funds would also be used to improve capabilities to regulate and monitor the local poultry sector.

“Our end goal is to make food safe to the Filipino people,” Governor Pineda said, noting that Pampanga is one of the top five poultry producers in the country.
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