Briones: Scapegoat

Publio J. Briones III

WHERE there’s smoke, there’s fire.

That is usually the case, but sometimes smoke can come from the most unlikely source. Take for example, pest control activities like fumigation. That generates clouds of white visible vapor. Or how about a fog machine?

At any rate, merriam-webster.com defines the American idiom as being used “to say that if people are saying that someone has done something wrong there is usually a good reason for what they are saying.”

“Usually” is the operative word here.

So when some residents of Barangay Cambang-ug in Toledo City blame a poultry farm for a fly infestation that has plagued it and neighboring Barangay General Climaco for the last two weeks, there must be some grain of truth behind their allegation.

After all, a poultry farm has been operating in Cambang-ug since last September. And you know what they say, where there are poultry farms, there are flies.

I personally would not know since I don’t and have never lived close to one, but even Toledo City Mayor Marjorie Perales seems to think so. Which is why she has not approved any business permits for such facilities since she assumed her post last July. She wants to make sure measures have been implemented so these don’t become breeding grounds for the flying vermin.

I’m sure flies have their uses in the scheme of things, but for all intents and purposes, they have been the bane of our existence since our ancestors a long, long, long time ago decided these insects weren’t good enough to eat.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “flies are known to transmit diseases, including enteric infections such as dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, cholera and helminth infections as well as eye infections, poliomyelitis and certain skin infections.”

Hey. I’m no doctor, so I’ll just have to take WHO’s word for it. As for Cambang-ug resident Benjamina Pinili, she has already made up her mind and is adamant that the flies were responsible for getting her and her two grandchildren sick and that the flies came from the poultry farm.

Hmm. Interesting.

In most likelihood, the flies had something to do with their illness, but I don’t know about tracing the flies’ origin to the poultry farm.

You see, there is a history of bad blood between Cambang-ug and the establishment. Two years ago, residents filed a petition that shut down its operation. But when its owner came knocking on the barangay hall’s door with all the necessary papers, including a nod from the environment agency, the village chief had no choice but to acquiesce.

With the sudden appearance of the flies, they have a new reason to have the poultry farm closed. How convenient.