House body approves VetMed college in BU
By Mar S. Arguelles
The House bill creating a College of Veterinary Medicine in the Bicol University is nearing realization following the recent approval by the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE).
Albay 3rd District Rep. Fernando Cabredo said on Dec. 12 that his House Bill No. 10203, a measure that seeks to establish the Bicol University College of Veterinary Medicine, would get the green light from the House Committees on Rules and Appropriation.
He said once the bill passes the Rules and Appropriation Committees, this would be endorsed to the House plenary for second and third readings and once approved at the plenary, this would be transmitted to the Senate for its own version.
The Albay lawmaker said he is hopeful that once it gets the Senate version, the bill would be signed into law by the newly elected President during the opening of the 19th Congress in June next year.
The measure creating a college of Veterinary Medicine at the BU is aimed to produce globally-competitive veterinary medicine graduates equipped with high-quality skills and competencies to address emerging and increasing animal diseases, which according to specialists endanger the health of animals and the health and economic growth of various communities.
A study from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said that there are at some 172 zoonotic diseases that pose grave challenges to animal and human health services and resources.
Cabredo said, “Outbreak of animal diseases can also cost the country millions of losses due to animal slaughters, trade halts, and subsequent disease management, and eradication efforts.”
Animal diseases have been reported and have largely impacted human health and food supply. Among the animal infections include the African Swine Fever (ASF), Avian Flu, Influenza A, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which resulted in the drastic decrease of pig meat in the Philippine market.
Veterinary Medicine is the only profession that plays a crucial role in protecting the health of humans by ensuring the health of the animals.
The study also indicates that, ironically, there are only about 10,000 veterinarians in the Philippines and only 20 are based in Albay.
Likewise, there is only one higher education institution (HEI) in Bicol, the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) in Camarines Sur that offers a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine. The school is two hours travel from Albay.
Cabredo said in partnership with the Ligao City government, the BU Veterinary Medicine campus would sit on a 10-hectares lot in Barangay Tuburan.
The campus would be a one-stop-shop facility where it would offer a 6-year course consisting of a 2-year preparatory veterinary curriculum, and general education courses, and a 4-year professional veterinary medicine course.
The school would have a nine-hectare lot for laboratory and treatment services.
Cabredo said the bill has earmarked some P168 million funds to finance the construction of the structure, and facilities, staffing, and operating expenses.