By: Flor Jackson

NAVAL, Biliran – The province of Biliran joined in the nationwide celebration of Rabies Awareness Month as it launches the occasion on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 in Biliran town, one of the eight municipalities in the island province.

For the first time, since the observance of March as Rabie Awareness Month, this is the first time that the launching activity of the celebration was held outside of Naval, the capital town of the province.

The activity was started with a motorcade at 7:30 in the morning from the capitol grounds around the poblacion of Naval then proceeded to Biliran town, some 18 kilometers away from the capital town.

The motorcade was participated in by officers and employees of the provincial government of Biliran, national government agencies (NGAs) and the local government units (LGUs) of the eight municipalities of the province.

The LGU officials of Biliran headed by Mayor Leandro Enage were at the Biliran New Bus Terminal where the launching program was held, to meet the participants to the motorcade.

In his welcome address, Mayor Enage said he was happy to announce that for the past couple of years, the municipality of Biliran has no rabies cases.

He thanked the residents of the town for their cooperation in having their dogs vaccinated to prevent being affected by the deadly disease.

He also thanked the provincial health officials and the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV) for their support in providing awareness to his constituents on the dangers of rabies through lectures and fora conducted in his municipality.

For his part, Dr. Suzette Apura, provincial veterinarian, in her updates on rabies prevention and control program, informed that in the year 2008 in the province of Biliran, of the five samples of dog head submitted for examination, only two were found positive of rabies. One, came from the municipality of Biliran and the other one came from Cabucgayan town.

She added that in 2009, five samples were submitted and were found negative of rabies, while in the year 2010, the two samples submitted were likewise negative of rabies.

Furthermore, she said that if within three years there will be no reported human and canine rabies cases, then Biliran province can already be declared as a rabies-free province.

Dr. Apura hopes that in 2011, there will be no cases of rabies in the province so that it can be declared as rabies-free province.

She informed that for the month of February this year, there was one dog head sample submitted for examination but was not found positive of rabies.

She urged the residents of Biliran town and all the representatives of the eight municipalities of Biliran province who were present during the launching ceremony to extend their full cooperation to the campaign for a rabies-free Biliran by encouraging dog owners in their respective areas to submit their dogs for vaccination and have them registered.

For his part, Governor Gerardo “Gerryboy” Espina, Jr. whose message was read by Board Member Brigido Caneja III informed that he is strongly supporting the activities of the OPV towards a rabies-free Biliran province.

He urged the residents of the province to extend full support to the program by having their dogs vaccinated and registered.
Part of the program for the launching of the Rabies Awareness Month was the Human Rabies Updates in Biliran province which was given by Dr. Salvacion Salas, Department of Health (DOH) representative in Biliran province.

The discussion of the Canine Rabies of Human Health Importance which was given by Dr. Archie Lluz of the Department of Agriculture regional office no. 8 likewise formed part of the launching program activities.

The observance of the Rabies Awareness Month in March this year carries the theme “Working Together for a Rabies Free Philippines: Register and Vaccinate!”. (PIA-Biliran)

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