To protect and keep the Philippines free from major animal diseases, and boost its burgeoning livestock and poultry industry, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will establish strong and functional animal disease diagnostic laboratories nationwide.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar issued Department Order (DO) No. 13 series of 2019, known as “Enhancement of the Biosafety and Biosecurity Capabilities at the Department of Agriculture (DA) Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories” or the “BSS project” which is being implemented by DA in collaboration with the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (US DTRA).

Following the approval of US DTRA in June 2018, DA has expanded the coverage of the project to include the construction and equipment provision for National Anthrax Reference Laboratory in Tuguegarao City; extension of training; development of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS); and development of a DA Integrated Laboratory Engineering Master Plan.

“Through the issued DO, we are supplementing provisions in the forms of modifications and additional components under the expanded coverage of the BSS project,” Dar said.

To enhance the diagnostic capability of the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL), an Anthrax Reference Laboratory is being proposed to be constructed in Tuguegarao City. The lab serves as the center for isolation of Bacillus anthracis and research on anthrax.

“The extended training, exercises, and workshops will complement DA’s rationalization efforts to improve and standardize biosafety and biosecurity practices and procedures in DA’s RADDLs,” Dar said.

Another component of the project is the development of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) that will facilitate the management of data within and exchange of information among ADDRL ad Animal Health Welfare Division (AHWD) of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and RADDLs of DA-Regional Field Offices (RFOs).

To establish a unified reference for the future expansion of the DA Regional Integrated Laboratory Divisions (ILDs), the project will develop a DA Integrated Laboratory Engineering Master Plan that will incorporate international bio-risk management standards and best practices.