PHILSTAR

AN ANIMAL disease research center will be established in Nueva Ecija to improve surveillance and of diseases likely to cross borders, such as African Swine Fever (ASF).

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar signed Memorandum Circular No. 5 on April 8 authorizing the center’s establishment.

He said that the center will serve as the repository for animal vaccines and other equipment for disease management; provide planning and risk analysis expertise; and train animal health workers.

“This project envisions the creation and operation of the center that shall lead the conduct of surveillance, diagnosis and control, mapping, epidemiology, timely information dissemination, research and emergency management in case of the emergence of transboundary animal diseases,” Mr. Dar said.

Mr. Dar said Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija will allocate at least 10,000 square meters for the construction of the center, adding that funding will come from Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

According to the memorandum, the DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) will partner with state universities to implement the project such as CLSU, Cavite State University, Central Bicol State University, Central Mindanao University, Isabela State University, Visayas State University, Tarlac State University, Cagayan State University, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, and Pampanga State Agricultural University.

“The BAI will also conduct collaborative activities with the state universities and colleges, and will designate personnel at the center should the need arise,” according to the memorandum.

CLSU will be in charge of hiring personnel and hosting the center for various development projects of government agencies, veterinary colleges, and research institutions.

It added that state universities and colleges should be accredited for the testing of transboundary animal diseases such as ASF, and assist in information campaigns and disease prevention, among others.

In a virtual briefing Tuesday, Agriculture Spokesman Noel O. Reyes said the construction of the project is expected to be finished within the year.

“It has laboratories that, among others, will… develop rapid test kits with the help of local technicians,” Mr. Reyes said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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