THE Cebu City Health Department (CHD) has been tasked to store or acquire, if not available, antivenom drugs in light of the recent sightings of snakes in the city and other parts of Cebu.
Th City Council, through a resolution filed by City Councilor Rey Gealon, approved the measure during a regular session last Jan. 10, 2024.
The sighting of a snake in Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City last Dec. 30, 2023, prompted Gealon to file such a measure.
Last Dec. 30, the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office caught a python in a residential house in Inayawan.
“The numerous incidents of snake sightings in Cebu City raise concerns about the safety of Cebuanos, as well as the preparedness of the City Health Department in the event that a person is bitten by a snake,” said Gealon in his resolution.
In SunStar Cebu’s report last Jan. 29, Beethoven Bongon, a toxicologist at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, assured the public that a polyvalent antivenom is available at the hospital. A polyvalent antivenom is effective against not only one but three cobra species, including the king cobra, the Philippine cobra, and the Samar cobra.
Bongon clarified that Philippine cobras, scientifically named as Naja philippinensis, is not common in Cebu, unlike king cobra or Ophiophagus hannah.
He also said Philippine Cobras are commonly found in Luzon, including places such as Pangasinan, Baguio and Masbate, as well as in Mindanao, such as Zamboanga.
Gealon said there have also been several reports and social media posts of the sighting of king cobras, locally known as banakon, in different parts of Cebu.
The latest incident occurred in Barangay Baybayongan in Dalaguete town, where a farmer almost stepped on two snakes believed to be king cobras, mating outside their house. The incident happened last Jan. 26.
In the same barangay, a man, believed to be bitten by a snake, was found dead on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 30.