ILOILO – The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry, through its National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee (NRPCC), has declared two islands in this province as rabies-free zones.
The declaration of Pan de Azucar and Botlog Islands in Concepcion was made possible after no cases of rabies surfaced in the island for the past five years, explained Provincial Health Officer Dr. Patricia Grace Trabado.
Trabado said the declaration would be an assurance that the islands were safe for both its inhabitants and visiting tourists who might want to experience province during the holidays.
“This good news makes us happy despite the problems we are facing with dengue, chikungunya and zika virus today,” said Trabado hoping that the rabies-free zones could help the province boost the islands’ tourism potentials.
Earlier in August, Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. expressed enthusiasm that the establishment of rabies-free zones could be possible in controlled areas like the island-barangays where dog population was manageable.
NRPCC conferred the plaques declaring the two islands as rabies-free zones to Trabado and Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Silvino Teodisio Jr. on September 28 during the World Rabies Day Celebration in Quezon City.
Elated by the award, Defensor encouraged the other local officials to emulate the practices in the two islands.
The Barangays of Tambaliza, Macatunao and Taloto-an in Pan de Azucar Island and Botlog in Botlog Island have passed ordinances to maintain their rabies-free status.
The ordinances mandated for the strict management of bite cases, regular dog vaccination and restrictions in the entry of unregistered pets. The ordinance also provided steep penalties against erring dog owners and violators.