Spike in dengue cases reported in Puerto Princesa

Published July 24, 2018, 11:00 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Philippine News Agency

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — A health official here has reported a higher number of dengue cases from January to June this year compared to the same period in 2017, with the longer rainy season being eyed as the culprit.

Dr. Ricardo Panganiban, City Health Office chief, said Monday during the regular session of the City Council that they recorded 283 dengue cases in the first half of 2018, compared to last year’s same period of 172.

Of the city’s 66 barangays, Barangay San Pedro has the highest number of cases with 39, while Barangay Tagburos has the lowest with only six dengue cases.

The top 10 barangays in Puerto Princesa that have the highest incidence are San Pedro, San Manuel, San Jose, Santa Monica, Bancao-Bancao, Bagong Sikat, Sicsican, Tiniguiban, Mandaragat, and Bacungan.

“Mahaba ang tag-ulan ngayong taon, December to January ay may mga bagyo at pag-ulan. April pa lang maaga bumalik ang tag-ulan (We had long rainy days this year, and from December to January we had typhoons and continuous rains. Rain returned early too, in April),” explained Dr. Panganiban on the possible reason why cases rise.

He added they have been stepping up their anti-dengue information drive, particularly in the barangays, where cases are most common through the brigades they have created.

Regular “misting” operations are also being conducted since it is more effective than fogging and safe for families.

“Sa fogging ay tinataboy lang ang lamok. Sa misting ay tumatagal yung chemicals hanggang isang buwan doon sa dingding kaya namamatay ang mga lamok. Ito rin ay safe to humans and animals, insects lang pinapatay (Fogging only drives away mosquitoes. The misting’s chemical lasts up to a month on the walls that is why mosquitoes die. It is also safe to humans and animals, it only kills insects),” he said.

Dr. Panganiban called the finding of the Department of Health (DOH) that dengue cases in the city seem to rise every two to three years “unique”.

The DOH has issued a warning about this but has not given any exact explanation why the occurrence happens at such interval.

The first recorded dengue case in Palawan was in late 1990 or early 2000, he said, adding since then it has become “endemic”.

On Monday, the City Council has approved on second reading a proposal to regulate the use of bamboo stalks (buho) as fencing material as it is the most common breeding ground of dengue mosquito carriers.

But the City Council has to ask for the opinion of the City Legal Office as it would affect residents who make a business out of cutting, gathering, transporting, and selling bamboo stalks.

Councilor Henry Gadiano said penalizing them for cutting would be difficult and needs a thorough study. What needs to be done is to cover the top part so it will not collect water and serve to become a breeding ground.

Councilor Nesario Awat, who opposed the proposed ordinance, said he will agree with the ordinance if it will only regulate and impose penalties on the improper and inappropriate utilization as fencing material.

“Marami kasing matatamaan kung i-regulate pati doon sa pagputol, pag-gather, pagtitinda ng buho. Kaya we will focus on the utilization (A lot of people will be affected if we regulate the cutting, gathering, and selling. What we should focus on is the utilization),” he said.