September 26 - October 09, 2005

LC councilors stick to their guns
Fogging budget disapproved anew
City dads say sporadic fogging creates more problems

Voting 6 to 4 with one abstention, the majority of Laoag City councilors stuck to their earlier decision of disapproving the P300,000 budget asked by Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Fariñas for thermal fogging to combat the spread of the dengue virus in the city.

According to the councilors who thumbed down the reconsideration sought by Fariñas, thermal fogging does not properly address the dengue problem.

Laoag City Councilor Vicentito M. Lazo, committee on finance and appropriation chair, reported during the council’s regular session held in Barangay Darayday on October 5 that of the city’s 80 barangays, only 15 had undergone fogging, resulting in the dengue-carrying mosquito to simply transfer to other places which had not been fogged.

“What is worse is that thermal fogging which the city government has undertaken has been sporadic that mosquito Aedis aegypti will merely transfer from one location to another,” Lazo reported.

In his committee report, which was used by the council to disapprove the budget sought by Fariñas, it was suggested that to have a more effective dengue prevention and control program, thermal fogging should be conducted not in a sporadic manner but should be in accordance with a specific and definite program to be initiated at least two months before the opening of classes and to maintain an either twice or thrice a week fogging for a period of three to four months so that the dengue mosquito will not transfer from one breeding place to another.

Lazo also cited recent studies which stated that sporadic thermal fogging creates more problems since this give the people a sense of complacency resulting in their lowering their guards against the dreaded disease and the dengue mosquito who had been affected to transfer to another breeding place would become more aggressive.

In view of these, Lazo said the P300,000 budget being asked for thermal fogging would only be a waste of taxpayers’ money since this would neither resolve nor prevent the possible dengue outbreak.

In lieu of this, the city government, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), should instead come out with an annual dengue prevention and control program wherein funding would be provided under the annual budget for the city to embark on a sustainable program, including information drive on how to prevent a dengue outbreak.

Meanwhile, Laoag City Councilor Modesto Melvin M. dela Cuesta, author of the resolution appropriating P300,000 for thermal fogging, objected to Lazo’s recommendations saying though fogging would not solve the dengue outbreak, it could help in the prevention of such.

Dela Cuesta said the committee should just advise the office in charge of thermal fogging to undertake the activity not in sporadic manner and not just recommend the disapproval of the measure considering that there had been at least 39 dengue victims in the city already.

For his part, Laoag City Councilor Primo Jay S. Ramos, finance committee vice chair and committee on health chair, clarified that fumigation and thermal fogging are not similar.

Based on his research, Ramos said fumigation is merely disinfecting an area and would not kill mosquito while thermal fogging is the one that kills mosquito and should be undertaken covering a wide area and in a continuous basis.

Ramos also suggested that fund should be allocated for such activity next year considering that a single tablet used for thermal fogging costs from P3,000 to P4,000.

Voting for the adoption of the finance committee report were Councilors Lazo, Ramos, Juan Conrado A. Respicio, Constante F. Dancel Jr., Edison O. Chua, and Ruben P. Blanco.

Voting against the report were Councilors Dela Cuesta, Raphael Christian F. Peralta, and ex-officio members Ben Cabacungan and Althea Katrina F. Castro.

Councilor John Cabarubbias abstained.

In a related development, Dr. Elizer Asuncion, city health office officer-in-charge, said he was amenable to the proposed yearly dengue control and prevention program as a funding for such program is needed.

The Ilocos Times tried to get the reaction of Fariñas but he was on official leave.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

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