DAVAO CITY – City Councilor Mary Jocelle Villafuerte said she prefers an incentive-based ordinance to encourage the public to clean their homes and help the government in bringing down dengue cases.

Councilor Villafuerte said that she wants to veer away from penalties to avoid making the people “suffer more”.

The councilor was referring to the anti-dengue ordinance  proposed by then health committee chair Councilor Bernard Al-ag in 2004.

“I don’t want to pass it in the same form,” she told Davao Today in an interview on Wednesday, August 24. She said that the proposed ordinance has a lot of provisions that are against the constitutional rights.

One of the provisions is the local officials may enter the homes and farms to inspect whether there are possible breeding grounds of dengue mosquitoes. She also said the penalty is stiff amounting to P5,000.

“We cannot make a law that violates the basic rights of our people,” she said.

Villafuerte was reacting to the statement of City Health Officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, who urged the City Council to pass an ordinance penalizing residents whose houses are found with breeding grounds of dengue mosquito, Aedesa egypti.

In a dispatch from the City Information Office on Wednesday, Dr. Villafuerte said while she is optimistic that the 4 o’clock habit campaign will be effective to curb the number of dengue cases in the city, an ordinance will result to a dramatic decrease in the number of dengue incidents.

“There should be an ordinance so that the people will be pushed to clean everyday. It should be a long term reason,” she said.

Dr. Villafuerte said there is no need to intrude on the privacy of the homeowners.

“We will not be intruding on the privacy of the homeowners, we are there to see if the houses are properly cleaned and dried up,” she said. She also stressed that everybody should follow the law for the promotion of public health.

Smoking ordinance vs anti-dengue ordinance

However, Councilor Villafuerte said that the government’s health agencies should not get profit from people’s diseases.

“Unlike with the smoking ban ordinance, this includes mosquitoes which are sometimes beyond the control of humans. We can only minimize but we cannot eradicate it 100 percent especially we live in a tropical country where there is mosquitoes, flies, because of our weather,” she said.

But the city councilor said they want to study more on the proposal.

“Ordinance takes time, why not we go on barangay-hopping to encourage barangays to be religious with the 4 o’clock habit, search and destroy,  using insecticide treated  screens from DOH and other strategies that can lower dengue incidents,” she said.

“But we are not closing doors on future legislations to institutionalize these (measures),” she said.

More than 3,700 dengue cases

Councilor Villafuerte said there are 3,735 dengue cases in Davao City from January 2016 to July 2016.

Among the areas in Davao City, Talomo South district topped the list of the most number of dengue cases with 490; followed by Buhangin with 489 cases; Tugbok with 332 cases; Toril with 313 cases; Calinan with 305 cases; Talomo Central with 297 cases; Talomo North with 292 cases; Agdao with 220 cases; District B with 195 cases; Bunawan with 172 cases; Sasa with 169 cases; District A with 148 cases; Baguio with 103 cases; Marilog with 100 cases; District C with 68 cases; and Paquibato with 44 cases.

She also said that they will assess the number of dengue cases on November 21, 90-days after they launched the 90-day siren to remind the public of the 4 o’clock habit to clean their surroundings. (davaotoday.com)

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