MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to let the Department of Social Welfare and Development distribute poultry goods to evacuees in Marawi City as chicken prices dropped after a bird flu outbreak in Central Luzon, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Thursday.
"I asked President Duterte if the Department of Social Welfare and Development can buy some of the chicken... baka puwedeng ipamigay sa evacuees sa Marawi para mapakinabangan," Piñol said in a press conference.
Piñol said all poultry products available in the market are safe for consumption as live fowls undergo tests and certifications before being dressed and sold in markets.
President Duterte and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will feast on chicken barbecue, duck eggs and other delicacies in a boodle fight in Pampanga to prove that poultry goods from the province are safe to eat, Piñol said.
"Seeing the president eat balut is the best assurance... No less than the president is telling the people it is safe to eat chicken," he said.
The Department of Agriculture earlier confirmed that the bird flu strain found in Pampanga tested positive for H5N6, a virus that can be transmitted to humans.
"The strain tested positive for H5N6 that could be transmitted to humans, but the rate of mortality and transmission is very, very low," Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, Bureau of Animal Industry veterinarian, said.
The agriculture chief said the bird flu scare pulled down chicken prices to P10 per head from P80. About 80 million kilograms of chicken are available in cold storage.