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ROUGH CUTS | Twin problems in a remote barangay




LAST Saturday mid-morning we were busy cleaning the small fishpond on one side of our house in our rural residence. We had our koi fresh water fish raised in that small pond. The fish are actually our provider of solace especially when we feel stress is dominating us on any particular day in our life.

     Suddenly, two tricycle-loads of people arrived and later asked our permission if they can bother us for a few minutes. We gladly obliged as we know almost everybody in the village. After ushering them into our yard we brought them to our newly opened hot and cold spot. We asked them what we can do for them considering that their purpose might be that important because they came in on that particular hour in the morning and in a group. They told us they were seeking our help. We told them that we were hoping the help they need is not financial as we ourselves were also in dire need of finances now that we are almost two years into the pandemic.

     An elderly housewife who, we presumed, was the initiator of the group’s move told us that they were not seeking any financial assistance or in-kind help. She told us that since we are working with the media they want to get our assistance in bringing to the attention of the rightful authorities the two major problems that many in Barangay Talandang are now confronting to no avail. We heaved a sigh of relief after learning the kind of assistance they need. We ourselves are experiencing the same problems lately in the house.

     According to the group, it has been for some time now that hordes of dirty flies are badgering every household in the said barangay. So nasty-looking are the hordes of flies that they literally had invaded households even if the doors and windows are screened. The flies apparently have become immune to chemical sprays that they are not anymore killed by the supposedly poisonous substance. My visitors told me that the flies have even got wiser. They assemble by the screens of doors and windows or at the sides. So when these entry areas to the house are opened the dirty little flies compete with those who are coming into the house or going out from it.

     We confirmed their claims that the flies are so abrasive that when one happens to pass by or go to his or her dining table, the food on it are nearly turned into something blackish with the flies on top of the uncovered food or right on top of the covers.

     We eventually started a discussion on what is causing all the unusual phenomenon that is seen a major health hazard in addition to the surging cases of CoViD 19. What later came out in our discussion was something we have already been made aware by others or we had already experienced such ourselves.

     Our co-villagers told us that the invasion of swarms of flies in the households in Talandang happens every after harvest time in poultry farms which are many in the said barangay. Complain our visitors that every time the chickens are harvested in a poultry farm, these are taken to the slaughtering area where these are also dressed and then delivered to its intended markets. But before these are replaced with new batch of broiler chicks, the entire poultry farm compound is being sanitized and sprayed with chemicals. This process forces the hordes of flies feeding on the chicken dungs to move out and fly into households nearby where they find new food attraction.

     This has been going on for the past many years already and the problem seems to have escaped attention of the barangay officials for reason still unknown.

     The complaining residents requested us to publish their concern hoping that their predicament will reach the knowledge of the sanitation unit of the City Health Office. For this important health threatening problem we are constrained to call the attention of the CHO especially the Sanitary Inspectors. Please spare a little time to look into this problem.

     Then we asked if there was anything more they want to seek our help. And the problem they surfaced later was also the very problem that we were confronted for some time already – flash floods in the barangay’s central area. Yes, according to these concerned co-residents of ours flash floods were never an occurrence in Talandang, Tugbok district for the longest time. They said that such phenomenon was never in their wildest dream to happen in a barangay situated in the high grounds of Davao City and sitting on a plateau surrounded by large valleys. But over the past few years, flash floods have become frequent devastating visitors in the area. The latest were the inundation last July 9 and August6, 2021. In both incidents it only took an hour of continuous strong rains to have the barangay center area to be submerged in dirty flood waters coming from the higher grounds going north. So fast was the onslaught of the flood waters that even the designated evacuation site of the barangay was suddenly gone and what appeared was a sea of murky surface water swelling about two feet above ground.

       The complaining residents pinpointed to the very silted and diminished width of the barangay drainage system.  Contributory to the shallowing of the canal was the recent expansion of the concreted barangay road by a measly one and a half feet pavement on each side. The expansion of course is a welcome development. But the way the project was implemented by the contractor and the subsequent acceptance by the government of the project were totally a different story. We were witness to the irresponsible dumping by the contractor’s workers of the soil and other debris to the drainage canal making it shallow and reducing further its width. The result is that the flow of water coming from the higher grounds became even more constricted. The immediate overflow and the subsequent flooding of that portion of the barangay follow. 

     They claimed that they have brought the issue to the attention of the barangay officials. But they were allegedly told that there is an upcoming road expansion project soon. So, improving the present situation of the drainage is not advisable at the moment.

     We are now asking the City Engineer’s Office how true is the claim of the barangay officials about the forthcoming road expansion project in Talandang. If it is true, when will this be realized? Will the residents be made to suffer further damage to their houses and belongings and even loss of lives before the problem is acted upon?

     Again, we are pleading to the CEO to look into this complaint. After all, the place is barely 31 kilometers from the city proper with easily passable concrete road. Syaro sab uy!



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