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ROUGH CUTS |  What’s the SP’s priority?

FRANKLY, we cannot understand the sense of priority among the members of the Davao City Sangguniang Panlungsod. They are lightning-quick in coming up with a proposed ordinance that will provide certain privileges for people with special needs. One privilege specifically mentioned is allowing persons with special needs to see a movie at least once a week for free.

     The proposed ordinance, though approved in the second reading, is as good as passed. And by then what will remain is the signing of the ordinance by the Mayor, the crafting of its implementing Rules and regulations (IRR), and the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the City Government and the operators of movie houses. From there, our brothers and sisters who have the misfortune of having special needs will enjoy the perks provided by the ordinance.

     Honestly, we are happy with such a development. Imagine a sector in society that needs some form of diversion given something that could relieve those who belong of their boredom and stress brought about by the needs they normally cannot satisfy!

     However, we would have been more elated if any one member of the City Council had introduced a proposed local legislation that would address on a long-term basis the complaints of many Davaoenos especially those in the rural areas, of potential hazards to their health brought about by the seasonal invasion of hordes of flies in the households or wherever there are magnets to the insect’s smell.

     Yes, we have heard or even witnessed one palliative solution to the problem being implemented. That was the giving by the poultry and hog farm operators of chemical disinfectants that will deter the dirty insects from invading the households. But as we said it was good as it last or that there are people from the City Health Office (CHO) monitoring the compliance of the poultry and swine farm operators.

     As far as our recollection is concerned, we can only remember the operators distributing the chemicals in affected barangays while the noise of the complaints was still loud and the heat still felt. Today it is back to the usual. Perhaps it is because the council member who was focused on addressing the issue is no longer a member thereof. We are referring to Dr. Joselle Villafuerte.

     In our efforts to help whoever among the councilors feels a little concern for the health of his or her constituents, we suggested the introduction of an ordinance that will mandate the poultry and hog farm owners to put up a bio-fence in the entire perimeter of their compound. By bio-fence, it is a simple planting of trees with as thick a layer as ten to 15 trees. If the suitable variety – the fast-growing ones – is planted, in two to four years the trees will be fully grown, and their leaves absorb whatever carbon dioxide is emitted from the farms. The same trees also deter the flies from flying out of the compound every after poultry or hog harvests.

     Moreover, once fully grown, the trees will help absorb rainwater every time downpours occur. Hence, whatever water absorbers did away with while putting up the farms will be substituted by the trees planted as bio-fence.

     One classic example of this situation is our rural residence in an inland barangay in Tugbok District. When we arrived there some four decades ago, the area was surrounded by lush coconut, coffee, cacao, and rubber plantations. The ravines were still thick with second-growth forest.

     Today the rubber and coffee farms are gone although some are replaced with durian trees. But worst is the sprouting of poultry and hog farms in place of the former rubber and coconut plantations. Since five years ago we have been experiencing flash floods even though the barangay is located on higher ground.

     Creeks and other natural waterways that used to flow with clear water are now dried up.  And what used to be my sleep deterrent – the sound of water from a small waterfall some fifty meters away from the house I once lived – is now like a lonely cliff with only water rivulets dripping slowly. Their sound could not even serve notice to the human ears.

     But the most dreaded by residents in our barangay, and perhaps in other villages similarly situated – that is, they are hosts to large poultries and piggeries – is not so much the floods that come. It is the invasion of the dirtiest among insects – the germs purveyor flies.

 The insects’ presence every so often is giving residents some creepy thoughts. They fear that if the city government does nothing to address the issue, the time will come – maybe even sooner – then the flies invasion will become a major health problem in the communities concerned.

     Meanwhile, none of our councilors appears to have a full grasp of the importance of or even understand what a bio-fence is all about as compared to understanding the meaning of special needs of a few members of society.

     The most they have done so far is by amending the Zoning Ordinance and having the poultry and hog farms transferred to where the establishments are allowed under the amended law. But they missed realizing the bigger risk – the locations allowed under the amended ordinance as sites for new and relocated swine farms are already residential communities.  

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