Government reopens animal disease laboratory in General Santos City

DAVAO CITY—The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has reopened a state-owned animal disease laboratory to prevent an outbreak of livestock diseases in Region 12.

The DA said its Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL) was refurbished using assistance from a biological engagement program backed by the United States government. The laboratory will cover most of the Cotabato provinces.

It was inaugurated on June 4 “to unravel concerns such as enhancing prevention, detection, treatment and eradication of zoonotic diseases, and human transmission,” the DA said.

“This project was implemented under the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program [CBEP] of the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency,” it added.

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The DA said its attached agencies, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards, had proposed the reopening of the laboratory.

Lance Brooks, the program director of CBEP, and Dr. Ronnie Domingo, the acting director of the DA-BAI, witnessed the inauguration rites.

DA Regional Director Milagros Casis said the new unit placed the region in the list of offices with national laboratories and regional integrated agricultural laboratories.

It is envisioned to enable the DA to prevent outbreaks involving animal diseases “which not only have negative impacts in the agricultural production but also on the exposure of humans to zoonotic pathogens as this pose direct threats to human health.”

Brooks said the project would be the country’s defense against the increasing threat of animal diseases that may strike the Asia-Pacific region.

“The reported cases could occur either as epidemic or endemic not only in your country but also across national boundaries and territories,” he added.

The laboratory was part of the P230-million “Enhancement of the Biosafety and Biosecurity Capabilities at the DA Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories.”

Other laboratories have been constructed in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and the Davao Region. The BAI in Quezon City has its own laboratory as well.

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Manuel Cayon has written about Mindanao for several national newspapers for more than two decades, the most part of it on conflict-reporting, and on the political, insurgency and civil rights front. He also scribbles on the religious and human rights issues for the Thailand-based Catholic news agency as well as he strings for several wire agencies. His stint with then TODAY newspaper started his business reporting obtaining in Mindanao, continuing to this day with BusinessMirror. He received citations and awards, including two Biotechnology awards for reporting. He was a fellow of the US International Visitors’ Program Leadership in 2007 on conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution. He attended college at the Mindanao State University and the Ateneo de Davao University