Iloilo province eyes declaration of more rabies-free areas

THE Iloilo Provincial Veterinarian’s Office (PVO) said it aims to declare more rabies-free areas in 2019.

Barangays Dungon, Maliog-liog, and Bagongon in Conception and Punta Buri and Tagubanjan in Ajuy are currently undergoing evaluation towards “rabies-free” declaration.

Dr. Darel Tabuada, Veterinarian IV, said these barangays compose one island.

“Actually subong mahapos lang magpa-declare kay regional na lang ang declaration indi na sa national,” Tabuada said.

The Regional Rabies Control Council composed of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) can now officially grant the declaration.

In order for an area to be declared “rabies-free,” it must have no record of human and animal rabies for the past two years, must properly implement the anti-rabies ordinance, and must have high vaccination coverage, Tabuada said.

The barangays will be additional areas to the first three areas to earn the distinction in 2016 – Tambaliza, Macatunao, Taloto-an in Pan de Azucar Island; and Botlog in Botlog Island.

Salvacion-Malangabang, Baliguian, and Sombrero in Concepcion, Iloilo were declared “rabies-free” zones by the National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee (NRPCC) on Sept 28, 2018.

It is easier for islands to reach “rabies-free” status than those in the mainland, Tabuada stressed.

“Mahapos ang island i-declare kay may boundary unlike kon mainland… example kon isa ka banwa, masyado ka porous ang area pwede magtabok-tabok ang ido,” he said.

Unlike in the mainland, the entry of dogs in islands can be regulated.

“Kon island siya ang aton lang naubra is ordinance lang nga bawal magsulod ang ido halin sa iban nga island kon wala vaccination card,” he said.

Despite this, the PVO eyes to declare the towns of Mina and Dumangas as rabies-free areas for 2020.

Tabuada said that these towns have no recorded dog bite cases and secured wide vaccination coverage in the past years.