National government earmarks P250M for veterinary medicine school in Albay

LEGAZPI CITY: A year after a lawmaker pushed from Albay for the creation of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Bicol University (BU), the national government finally allotted a P250 million budget for the construction of the said school starting in 2023.

Albay Second District Rep. Fernando Cabredo said that the national government has given the green light and appropriated P250 million for the construction of the veterinary medicine college in Ligao City.

“Construction of Bicol University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ligao City is on the pipeline this year after the national government appropriated P250 million in the national budget fiscal year 2023,” Cabredo said.

Cabredo, the main proponent of House Bill 10203 which was filed in September 2021, lauded the national government for the realization of the school that, the lawmaker said, will produce globally competitive veterinary medicine graduates who can help contain outbreaks of animal diseases in the countryside .

The school in Ligao City will be the second school in the Bicol Region that offers veterinary medicine. The first one is located at Central Bicol State University in Pili, Camarines Sur, which is about two hours away from Albay.

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The measure creating a College of Veterinary Medicine at the BU is aimed at producing globally competitive veterinary medicine graduates equipped with high-quality skills and competencies to address emerging and increasing animal diseases, the bill’s explanatory note read.

Citing a study from the Agriculture, Health, and Environment departments, Cabredo said that there are at least 172 zoonotic diseases that pose serious challenges to animal and human health services and resources.

“Outbreaks of animal diseases can also cost the country millions of losses due to animal slaughters, trade halts, and subsequent disease management and eradication efforts,” Cabredo’s bill read.

He said the animal diseases have largely impacted human health and food supply, including African swine fever, avian flu, influenza A and severe acute respiratory syndrome that resulted in the drastic decrease in pork meat in the market.

The study also indicated that of the estimated 10,000 veterinarians across the Philippines, only 20 are based in Albay.

The six-year course will consist of a two-year preparatory veterinary curriculum and general education courses, and a four-year professional veterinary medicine course.

Cabredo said that the construction of the veterinary medicine project in Albay is in partnership with the city government of Ligao.

The BU College of Veterinary Medicine campus with laboratory and treatment services would sit on a 10-hectare lot in Barangay Tuburan.

Tuburan village is also the home of the country’s biggest training center of the Bureau of Fire Protection. The site is also the new regional center of the Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources office.