In boodle fight, Rody makes strong pitch for poultry items

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga ― President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday assured the public that poultry products remained safe for consumption as he announced he would seek additional funds to augment the government’s support for the poultry raisers.

“I assure the public that the poultry products in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija are safe for consumption and that we, in government, are undertaking efforts to stamp out the outbreak and minimize its impact in the country,” the President said, as he visited Pampanga province recently struck by the avian influenza virus. 

In making his pitch―the President even feasted on adobong balut, pritong pugo, adobong manok, litson manok, kalderetang bibe and nilagang itlog in a boodle fight with top officials―to end the slump in the sales of poultry and poultry products following the Bird Flu scare. 

Duterte then vowed to raise more money using funds from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to help poultry raisers in provinces affected by the avian influenza. 

“Let us find out [how much would be the cost] and maybe we can add more. But [only what we can afford, I will ask Andrea of Pagcor if they have the funds],” Duterte said, adding his administration would raise the money.

BOODLE FIGHT. President Rodrigo Duterte feasts on various poultry dishes in a boodle fight Monday at San Fernando, Pampanga to assure the public on the safe consumption of commercially sold poultry and poultry products amid the bird flu outbreak in Central Luzon. Joining him were former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and other local officials. John Paolo J. Bencito

“I’ll try to find out in a few weeks and maybe… at the end of the month… Just to add a little bit to the amount that you have already received,” he said in a media interview.

During the event, the President led the awarding of indemnity checks to poultry raisers whose farms were depopulated to prevent further spread of bird flu virus. 

Certificates of appreciation were also given to agencies and local government units who worked together to stamp out bird flu

To stamp out the outbreak and minimize its impact to the country, Duterte said the government was undertaking efforts such as the culling of affected fowls, which was completed on Aug. 24.

The President likewise expressed gratitude to the local officials and people of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija for their solidarity and cooperation in quickly stamping out avian flu in the affected areas.

“I thank everyone here today for playing their respective roles in the implementation of isolation and quarantine measures towards the eventual elimination of avian flu in the country,” he said.

Duterte also apologized for constantly coughing throughout his less than 16-minute speech after an allergic reaction following his exposure to flowers. 

“I just came from a wreath laying ceremony. I am allergic to flowers… I cannot tolerate flowers,” Duterte said.

Joining Duterte were Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, and former Leyte congressman Martin Romualdez. 

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