Some Asturias residents say their children became ill because of flies

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Thursday, July 31, 2014


RESIDENTS in seven barangays in Asturias, Cebu blame the swarm of flies that invaded their villages for cases of diarrhea and vomiting, and for lost income.

In response to the infestation, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) sprayed chemicals in houses in Barangays Antugop, New Bago, Bago, Lunas, Looc, Langub and Poblacion.

Personnel from PHO, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Environmental Management Bureau and the Department of Agriculture (DA) conducted yesterday separate inspections.

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Some residents blame the flies on the Cebu TH Poultry House Corp. farm, located in Sitio Buswang, Barangay Bago.

Lelianita Alo, 40, said two of her children—ages two and seven—suffered stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. She said her seven-year-old child was not able to go to school since Monday.

Stomach pain

Renilda Apurdo, 42, said her 12-year old son also complained of stomach pain and they found blood in his stool. Apurdo said she just gave him antibiotics.

Cecille Asumen, manager of the poultry farm, declined to comment on the residents’ allegations. She said the company will hold a press conference later.

The company hung a sign at the gate of the poultry farm stating it has been issued an environmental compliance certificate by the DENR.

Rodulfo Flora, sanitary inspector of Asturias, said the poultry farm in Buswang sprayed chemicals at the facility to kill the flies. But he said there are also three poultry farms in Barangays Antugop, Langub and Bago.

Flora said residents who claimed they got sick did not come to the municipal health office and only went to the barangay health center to ask for assistance from a midwife.

He said the Municipal Government asked residents who became ill because of the flies to visit the municipal health so they can be diagnoses and treated, but no one came.

Business

Residents said the children may have become ill because flies land on their food when they are eating.

Ofelia Seblos, 59, said flies are bad for her business.

Seblos, who has a small store in Sitio Buswang, said flies bore holes into the plastic packaging of bread so she had to put the bread into another plastic bag.

She said sales from tuba, coconut wine, also suffered. Before the infestation, she could sell 10 gallons. But since the flies came, she only sold three gallons.

She said people were afraid there were flies in her coconut wine.

Inspection

Seblos said she hopes the poultry farm would give them chemicals to be used in killing the flies.

A government inspection team found chicken dung placed in sacks and left on the side of the barangay road in Bago. The road is located near a river.

Asturias Mayor Allan Adlawan admitted that the Municipal Government distributes chicken wastes from the poultry farm to the farmers.

The farmers’ organization, he said, requested for the chicken dung, which can be used as fertilizer.

But some farmers do not use the chicken dung immediately and leave the wastes lying around.

Adlawan said media reports regarding the flies have been exaggerated. He said the issue may be politically motivated.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 31, 2014.

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