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KIDAPAWAN UNDER CALAMITY STATE

Villagers fight dengue with frogs, cooking oil

/ 05:04 AM August 31, 2019

SAN MANUEL, PANGASINAN—Villagers in Pangasinan and Bataan provinces are pinning their hope on croaking frogs and cooking oil to stamp out the dengue virus that has claimed more than 700 lives in the country.

In this eastern Pangasinan town, residents have been asked to avoid catching frogs and toads that prey on mosquitoes, to ward off the tropical disease.

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Mayor Kenneth Perez said the high population of natural predators of insects here could have contributed to the low incidence of dengue cases.

This year, local health officials said they recorded 15 dengue cases, down from 40 last year when the town almost declared a dengue outbreak.

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Perez said frogs and toads thrive in agricultural areas like this town where 80 percent of its 129.18 square kilometers of land is dedicated to farming.

“We are discouraging our residents from catching frogs for their meat so we can use these in helping combat dengue,” he said.

Mosquitoes for rice

In Bataan province, residents of Barangay Alion in Mariveles town have been using cooking oil to trap mosquitoes, which they exchange for rice.

About 200 mosquitoes can be exchanged for a kilogram of rice, according to Al Balan, Alion village chief. So far, 87 residents have visited the barangay hall with mosquitoes on sticky trays with used oil.

At least 398 dengue cases have been recorded in Mariveles since January, according to the provincial health office. The cases included 120 Chinese workers at the GNPower Ltd. Co. coal-fired power plant in Barangay Alas-asin.

Unabated rise

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Kidapawan City in Cotabato province was placed on Thursday under a state of calamity due to the unabated rise in dengue infections. The declaration was approved during the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, upon the recommendation of the city disaster risk reduction and management council (CDRRMC).

Kidapawan is the fifth local government in Mindanao to declare a state of calamity due to dengue. The others are Zamboanga Sibugay, South Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro City for 10 villages and Iligan City.

According to Jasna Sucol, Kidapawan’s antidengue coordinator, dengue cases in the city totaled 687 from January to Aug. 24, an increase of 237 percent compared to the same period last year.

The CDRRMC identified 10 villages where most dengue cases were recorded and where a dengue outbreak was declared. These are Barangay Birada, Poblacion, Amas, Balindog, Lanao, Sudapin, Manongol, Paco, Magsaysay and Singao.

Soaring cases in Bicol

In Bicol region, 5,846 dengue cases, with 44 deaths, were recorded from January to Aug. 24, Dr. Aurora Daluro, chief of the Department of Health (DOH) regional epidemiology surveillance unit, said.

Most of the fatalities were children.

Daluro said 102 villages in 33 towns and cities in the region were declared as dengue “hot spots.” She said the ratio of dengue attacks showed that 95 people were infected with the dengue virus per 100,000 of the population.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government in Bicol directed governors and town and city mayors to hold the “Sabayang 4 o’clock habit para deng-get out,” a cleanliness drive in 3,741 villages in the region’s six provinces.

Dr. Ernie Vera, the DOH regional director, said more dengue cases were expected with the onset of the rainy season until November. He said the rain was a major contributor to the spread of dengue because it produced puddles of water that could become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. —REPORTS FROM YOLANDA SOTELO, GREG REFRACCION, WILLIAMOR MAGBANUA AND MAR ARGUELLES

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