The local government of this island city of the Davao Region is preparing for the declaration of the city as rabies-free by 2015, five years earlier than the national target of 2020.
Provincial Veterinarian Office chief Renato Embate said the rabies case actually came from Davao del Sur and brought to the island.
When it was monitored, it resulted in the forfeiture of the city’s bid to be declared rabies-free.
“Samal Island would have been declared rabies-free as early as two years ago if not for the single rabies case which was inadvertently attributed to the city,” he said.
Embate said the bid to be declared rabies-free is spearheaded by city veterinarian Edunil Sala and in close coordination with the Department of Health.
He said there are many requisites before the city can be declared rabies-free.
These include the absence of a positive dog or human rabies case during the past five years.
“The proper implementation of Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 is also important,” he said.
All the provisions under this law and supporting ordinances are already in place, he added.
However, Embate said the city is faced with many challenges including the presence of many entry points in the island-city. That includes the barge in Barangay Sasa in Davao City and the many other ports in the island and surrounding cities.
Embate said Samal Island has a dog pound which can help in keeping stray dogs away from the streets.