SOME residents of Barangay Lower Beceril in Boljoon town have circulated a petition asking Mayor Merlou Derama to help them deal with a swarm of house flies, which have been bugging them for weeks.

The Cebu Provincial Health Office (PHO) and the local sanitary office sprayed insecticide in the affected area last June 25, but the problem persisted.

Boljoon Sanitary Inspector Chloe Amper recommended that a different chemical be used with each spraying, in case the flies develop immunity to the materials.

“Human nila’g spray, taud-taod namalik na man pud (A while after they sprayed, the flies came back),” said Charlie Mendez, 31.

PHO head Cynthia Genosolango said that a team will make a follow-up visit next week.

In their petition, the residents asked local officials to require DXB Poultry Farm, owned by Feliberta Mubarak Obaid, to improve their pest control measures.

The farm has two long rectangular buildings and another structure with a roof where sacks of chicken droppings are kept. There are no walls.

Delfin Romero, a retired official of the Provincial Engineering Office, said he has asked his grandchildren not to visit yet, because he doesn’t want them to get sick.

According to a notice on the gate of DXB Poultry Farm, the farm received an environmental compliance certificate from the Environmental Management Bureau last Feb. 27, 2009. (The bureau is attached to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.)

Residents of Lower Beceril, some 10 kilometers from Boljoon town proper, have posted photos on Facebook of the flies covering areas inside their houses. Boljoon is a fifth-class municipality (in terms of income) with a population of 15,027 as of 2010. Beceril is one of its 11 barangays.  

Some residents also passed around a petition for signature last Friday titled “Stop Infestation of Botflies! Free Us From Deadly Disease!”

They asked that government officials, “from the mayor down to the barangay

ouncilors” persuade the poultry farm’s management to improve their pest control

“within one month from this petition.”

If it fails to do so, they added, the town should cancel its business permit, close the farm and “compensate (those who live in) the affected area.”

Mayor Derama joined the team that went to the community last June 25.

Unlike Beceril’s residents and children, Mendez said, the poultry farm’s owners have not been affected by the cloud of flies because they live in the town proper.

He said the farm has been operating for four years, but that he has observed the flies since last November.

Romero said that the infestation worsens during harvest time, when 28-day-old chickens are taken out for delivery and their chicken coops are left open for cleaning.

In the first week of February, he recalled, there was a public hearing on the problem and that Obaid sent some employee-representatives. Obaid, he added, attended another hearing conducted in the first week of March.

She reportedly urged residents to check 28 days later or during the harvest. That day, there were fewer flies.

“Karon daghan na pud (But now, there’s a lot of them again),” Romero said.

Amper, the sanitary inspector, suggested that the farm’s owners use rice husks instead of rubber matting on the floor where chicken droppings are collected.

She also suggested covering with a screen the surrounding area, especially the bodega where they keep sacks of chicken waste.

Lastly, she recommended regularly changing the brand of pest spray used.

A Sun.Star Cebu team went to DXB Poultry Farm but a security guard directed them to Obaid’s house in the town proper. There, a member of the household staff said that Obaid was not at home and declined to reveal a contact number.