Early last week we made some kind of a challenge through this column to our neophyte councilors of Davao City. It was short of saying who possibly from among them will be able to introduce a new proposed ordinance, or even an amendatory one, to an existing related local law, if there is any. The challenge was for anyone of them to introduce to the body an ordinance seeking to address the broader problem of the city’s environmental degradation or of a smaller impacted area of a community seeking most urgent solution to an over-polluted or a highly at risk of fly-borne diseases.

    Earlier we opened this idea to at least two neophyte dads who we believe, are more attune to the times because of their youth and of their experience working with the people in communities because of their professions.

     Nonetheless, we seem to have observed that the suggested measure is somewhat given some kind of, in the words of the late maverick Davaoeno Senator Landring Almendras, “Let us to see” attitude disguised in what they say, “We’ll look into it” or “We will make initial consultations with proper agencies.”

     We are a little bit apprehensive with this kind of response because our own experience tells us that it is something betraying one’s lack of interest. Anyhow, we are still hoping that the first-time elected city dads will be able to fast track their consultation or their “look into it.”

     Now, however, we are opening this challenge not just to the new councilors but also to the come backing ones, and to those who have already grown additional wisdom teeth in the city council without having done much in terms of churning out meaningful local legislations other than “Second” or “Co-sponsor” raising of hand.

     What is this idea that we believe would mean a lot to several community residents especially in the rural areas, if an ordinance to the effect is passed by the local legislative body?  

     We are referring to the idea of requiring new poultry or hog farm business applicants to put up a bio-fence in the entire perimeter of the farm compound. For those already long operating poultry or swine farms they need to put up the same as a condition for the renewal of their permit to operate. And the compliance must be monitored by the authorities, especially the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO).

     What is this bio-fence we are talking about? And what can it do to protect the environment and to address the long-nagging problem of people in barangays hosting several poultry and swine farms. Yes, those members of the city council who were once chair of the Committee on Health and Sanitation, or the Environment Committee if there is one, will bare us out. Their committees were recipients of countless complaints of residents near those farms that every after harvest season of broiler chicken – that is every 45 after days, and lately shortened further to as frequent as 30 days after re-population or replenishment of the harvested broiler batch – their community is invaded by swarms of flies. The insects swarm is so massive that it even forms like curtains of black cloth when the flies assemble on windows all wanting to get inside houses. Most often, when this “flies invasion” happens in a particular season, the insects often beat the household members to the food being served on the dining table.

     But first what is this bio-fence we are suggesting to be considered a major feature in a city ordinance that we believe could enhance the quality of environment in the city? It is a fence like all others we see in houses or compounds. But unlike the fences made of hollow bloc, solid cement walls, chicken or hog wires, steel bars all of which are intended to deter any intruder to the poultry or swine farm compound, the bio fence is one several row of trees planted either inside or outside the perimeter fence earlier-mentioned. These trees when fully grown will serve as a natural fence that will not only provide fresh air in and outside the vicinity of the farms. It will also reinforce the intention of the other nature of the fences we earlier mentioned which is to protect the farms from intruders. The bio fence will serve as bar of the dirty flies from getting outside the poultry and swine farms for them to transfer to nearby communities. In the process the flies escape the toxic chemicals usually sprayed on the farm houses as part of sanitizing the compound in preparation for the new batch of broiler or layer chicken that comes in.

     Also, if the poultry or swine farms are located in a rolling piece of land, or a hilly one with sides having some ravine, the trees will help deter soil erosion thereby preventing landslides that could bring damage to the farm facilities. 

     Trees normally planted to form the bio fence are those that are fast growing or that their flowers or leaves are natural insect repellants. These are the mahogany variety or pomelos that bear flowers early. And if the farm compound is big enough cattle can be raised inside where they can graze the grassy portion. The animal can enhance the bio fence protective capability as the cattle are normal attraction to flies where the insects seem to enjoy hooping on the animal’s back and side skin. Thus the insects;’ flight outside can further be distracted by the cattle inside.

     If any of the councilors would be interested to find out whether the bio fence indeed work to the advantage of the communities hosting poultry and swine farms, all they need to do is visit the compound of the Davao Farms of businessman Sammy Uy’s family specifically in the perimeter facing the Elenita Heights subdivision in Catalunan Grande. In the many years of the subdivision’s existence, we never heard of the residents complaining to the City Health Office of being bothered by swarm of flies invading their abode. This is because the perimeter of the farm along the road facing Elenita Heights is planted with as wide as six to five meters of Mahogany trees and several rows of pomelo trees all fruit bearing. And on the ground are several heads of cattle grazing whatever grass that grows in the area.

     And we believe that the management of the Davao Farms is not even aware that they have provided that deterrent of flies invasion to its host communities that include Catalunan Pequeno and Mintal.

     Now the race to having a proposed ordinance or amendment is already open to every well-meaning council members of Davao City.





Source: Mindanao Times ( https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2022/08/30/rough-cuts-32/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rough-cuts-32)