Residents desperate over lifelong fly infestation; worry about health

Residents desperate over lifelong fly infestation; worry about health
DEADLY DISEASE CARRIERS. Photos show flies swarming on a resident's house in Purok 5, Barangay Cacao Panabo City where a fly infestation was reported due to the dirty poultry and piggery farms in the area. (Contributed photo)

DAVAO CITY – A group of residents who live near a poultry farm in Barangay Cacao Panabo City, Davao del Norte reached out to News Fort on Saturday about the long standing problem of fly infestation in their community.

The flies, residents said, are getting worse every day and  have complained of the problem since 2017.

The problem was even featured in ABS-CBN in 2018 giving hope to residents, their predicament would finally be addressed by directly concerned entities.

But they were wrong because the situation gets worse on a daily basis.

Roselle Adecer-Labitad , a resident of Purok 5 in the said barangay told News Fort that they believe the fly infestation was caused by the poultry and piggery farms in the area.

“We cannot really pinpoint as to where the flies came from but there is an existing poultry farm here which is the main cause of this. It possibly started in their poultry farm and has swarmed in our barangay,” she attested.

Recurring complain

In February this year, Labitad tried to reach out to the Facebook pages of the local government but to no avail.

“I already sent a report to the City Health, Panabo City government and Sumbungan sa Mayor, they told us to wait [for actions] and replies ‘noted’ [referring to the Facebook pages where she lodged the report]. Other residents refused to complain because they fear for their lives since the poultry and piggery farms here were owned by big companies,” she added.  

We are very desperate about our situation now that is why we reached out to News Fort in the hope to receive a fast action about this issue. Apart from the pandemic, this is also a big challenge on our health, she further added.

Labitad also said that they also reached out to the barangay leaders in Barangay Cacao but was only told to use insect sprayers to contain the infestation.

“They also told us that the barangay council has called the attention of the poultry supervisor. And during their meeting, the supervisor only answered that they have bought fake medicine which is not effective to get rid of the flies,” she said.

Labitad also recalled that they were told that the flies will only swarm before harvesting time, but will eventually be gone when harvesting is over.

“So we will be the one to adjust and wait for their harvest season for us to have a sigh of relief for a moment? It has been a perennial problem among the residents. They should be responsible in their businesses. We are the ones who suffer on their earnings,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, a resident named alias Raz who refused to be named also reached out to News Fort for the same concern.

She said they lived for two years in the barangay and have suffered the same problem from the start.

“The poultry administrators keep on promising to take actions about the problem but up to now nothing happened,” she lamented.

Actions to be taken

Labitad and Raz clamored for the poultry owners to adhere to the sanitation requirements.

“We want them to maintain their cleanliness in their poultry and piggery farms. All they have to do is follow the sanitation requirements. If it is clean, no flies will swarm our communities,” Labitad continued.

Labitad also asked the local government of Panabo City to conduct inspection of the poultry and piggery farms in the area as well as issue an appropriate penalty should they found out that its operators do not follow the prescribed sanitation requirement.

“We are not against these companies or their businesses here. We just want an environment where our health will not be compromised,” she said.

Meanwhile, News Fort raised the matter to the Panabo City Information Office head, Michael Angelo Resueno.  He assured to tackle the problem with higher authorities next week.

Health risks

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the house fly and other types of “filth flies” can become nuisance pests, but also are important for their potential to harm humans and animals.

House flies, for example, can spread diseases such as food poisoning and dysentery and they may also contaminate food and surfaces by defecating on them.

The diseases that flies can transmit include enteric infections (such as dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, cholera and certain helminth infections) and, eye infections (such as trachoma and epidemic conjunctivitis).

The common housefly can transmit the pathogens that cause shigellosis, typhoid fever, E. coli, and cholera.

The disease-causing agents can either be transmitted by the body hairs or by the tarsi which are transmitted to food or surfaces when the fly lands.