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        The Mountain Province continuously supports the program for the Philippines to be Rabies Free in 2020 through the “Dog walk and Rabies Prevention and Control Program Awareness Month Celebration” on March 21 to 22, 2018.

        The said celebration’s activities were a dog walk, Information Education Campaign (IEC) through a seminar, free rabies vaccination, vitamins, deworming, pet consultation and neutering of pets. It was through the collaboration of Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU), Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), Department of Agriculture (DA- RFO-CAR) and Department of Health (DOH- CAR).

        “One Health approach is applied through these joint activities from different agencies to support the prevention of rabies since animal health is also human health,” said Rodelio Bagawi, Provincial Veterinarian.

        The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have 27 canine rabies positive cases recorded last year and ten (10) as of March.

        “This means that people are now being aware, wherein they submit samples immediately in the laboratory compared in the previous years of first quarter wherein only three are being reported” stated Dr. Leisley Deligen, of DA-RFO-CAR.

        Moreover the officials are encouraged to help disseminate to the constituents that rabies can be preventable through anti-rabies vaccination.

        “If all the barangays have an ordinance as to responsible pet ownership wherein 100% of the population of dogs are vaccinated, there will be no problem about rabies” said Claudio Pancho, DOH - Mountain Province.

        Roy Fiaching, the DOH CAR Regional Rabies Coordinator mentioned that during the National Program Review, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is only the region that reached 70% of the dog population vaccinated which is the maximum target of the program.

        Furthermore, to help control the population of pets, specifically dogs and cats, free neutering was conducted. There were a total of 37 neutered pets with 27 dogs and 4 cats castrated and 3 dogs and 3 cats spayed.

        Accordingly, most of the dogs and cats become stray because the owner can no longer take good care of them.

        “The stray pets are usually the one who bites and identified to be positive in rabies,” said Dr. Josephine Dao-wan, PVO Veterinarian II.

        Santiago Aluyen, one of the residents stated that the neutering is a big help for his pets not to go astray.

        Aside from neutering, almost 60 pets availed of the free rabies vaccination and 39 in deworming. They also gave free shampoo, bath soap and consultation to the pets.

        On the other hand, different breeds of dogs participated in the dog walk which is an advocacy to let people be aware that dogs are pets and not for food.

        “My pets are stress relievers and participating in this activity will show and return my love to them,” said Kristine Domalsin, a pet owner.

        Moreover the IEC seminar was participated by barangay officials and health workers of different barangays of Bontoc. The regular updates and facts on animal and human rabies was discussed, also the vaccine storage and handling.

        Fiaching reiterated the responsible pet ownership by first implementing rabies ordinances. Second is awareness to educate neighbors and children about rabies that it is 100% fatal but 100% preventable thru vaccination. Third is for the people to beware of dogs because if there will be no dog bite there will be no rabies. Fourth is immediate washing for 10 minutes if got bitten. Fifth is to ensure the observation of biting dogs for 14 days. Lastly is to seek immediate medical attention.

        “I have learned more on the anti-rabies program which I will also share to our neighbors in our barangay,” said Grace Ayuweng, barangay health worker.//Budikey, Aurita DevCom Intern 2018