Iloilo’s rabies-free initiatives up for validation


ILOILO – The documentation of the ongoing initiatives of the provincial government and municipality of Concepcion to prevent and control the spread of rabies in Pan de Azucar Island is now complete and ready for inspection.

Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. is eyeing the declaration of Pan de Azucar Island as “rabies-free zone” to ensure the safety of the inhabitants and visitors of the famous tourist spot in Northern Iloilo.

The validation process of the province’s bid will be on August 14-16, 2016 with inspectors from Department of Agriculture and Department of Health.

For the past eight years, no human rabies deaths have been recorded in the island, including in nearby Botlog Island, according to Provincial Rabies Coordinator Estifania Gigare of the Provincial Health Office.

This clean record is an achievement that Iloilo has to maintain in order to get the desired rabies-free zones in Barangays Taloto-an, Macatunao, Tambaliza and Botlog, stressed Gigare.

The coverage of mass dog vaccination is also relatively high in the four barangays given its strategic location and manageable dog population.

As of December 2015, the Provincial Veterinary Office immunized 91.46% of the 281 registered dogs in Taloto-an, while it covered 91.51% of the 377 dogs in Tambaliza.

All of the 69 dogs in Botlog and 250 dogs or 92.28% of its total population in Macatunao were also vaccinated.

The four villages have passed ordinances on rabies prevention and control following the enactment of the same in municipal and provincial level.

These local ordinances mandate dog owners to have their pets vaccinated and they are also required to maintain a registration card which shall contain all vaccinations conducted for accurate recording.

It also mandates for reporting of bite incidents within 24 hours to proper authorities and states that expenses of the bite victim must be shouldered by the pet owner.

Dog impounding is also implemented in these island-barangays to eliminate stray dogs.  The practice of “tandok” or quack doctor is prohibited.

The entrance of cats and dogs from other barangays, especially from areas not declared as rabies-free, is likewise forbidden. A fine not less than P500 but not more than P1,000 is charged against any violators.

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