Duterte: Pampanga's poultry products safe to eat

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Duterte led a boodle fight with Pampanga officials and the Agriculture Secretary to prove the point.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28) — President Rodrigo Duterte assured the public poultry products from Pampanga are safe to eat in the wake of the bird flu scare.

Related: DoH ramps up bird flu preps, even as no human cases recorded

"I came here just to eat the chicken and the egg and the baluts to assure the public na hindi ho delikado [It's not dangerous]. Tapos na [It's done]," Duterte told reporters in Pampanga Thursday.

Duterte ate chicken dishes in a boodle fight with Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, and Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda.

In a speech, Duterte commended officials of the agriculture department for their "quick and decisive" response in containing the bird flu outbreak in some parts of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija. 

"Our goal is clear and simple: Put the industry firmly back on the path of high growth and progress so that they can contribute to our nation's food security for economic growth," the President said.

Duterte apologized to poultry farmers for the culling of around 314,000 chickens, but stressed the need to continue implementing measures to prevent the entry of any strain of avian flu.

Related: More Pampanga farms to cull chickens after farm-gate price drop

"It is a continuous surveillance, vigilance of the early signs of contamination. As of now, we were able to sequester the place. Sadly, (we) destroyed all the animals there, fowls, lahat, those that can contaminate us with the flu," he said.

More than 400,000 birds were destroyed in affected farms in San Luis, Pampanga, where the outbreak of an H5-strain virus was first announced earlier this month.