OPV eyes New Lucena as first ‘rabies-free’ municipality in Iloilo

ILOILO, Jan. 29 (PNA) — The Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV) is targeting the town of New Lucena to be the first “rabies-free” municipality in the province.

OPV Livestock Inspector II Dr. Darel Tabuada said they have already started coordinating with the local government unit of New Lucena and its Municipal Agrarian Office (MAO) since November last year on how to reach the goal.

The municipality had already downloaded the challenge to all the village chiefs to spearhead the mission on barangay level.

Aside from vaccination, among the strategies which the town is implementing is the no-stray dog policy.

Last year, New Lucena had a total dog population of 3,262 of which 79.17 percent or 2,582 were vaccinated.

Tabuada revealed that the OPV first eyed the island barangay of Pan de Azucar in Concepcion in northern Iloilo to be the first rabies-free island in the province but it was not materialized because of the recent calamity that hit the area causing them to drop the plan.

Meanwhile, for 2013, the OPV failed to reach the 70 percent target with its low coverage of 35.77 percent.

OPV accomplishment report showed that of the total dog population of 289,856 in the province, only 103,683 or 35.77 percent were vaccinated.

Tabuada said they were not able to reach the target because OPV only received 9,864 vials of vaccine from Bill and Melinda Gates (BMG) Foundation when they expected some 20,000 vials.

He added, for 2014, there will be no more vaccine allocation coming from BMG because it already ended its five-year program last year.

Because of this, Tabuada said local government units in the province are now again obliged to allocate at least P100,000 of its fund for rabies program as stipulated in RA 9482 otherwise known as The Anti-Rabies Act of 2007. (PNA)