Toledo halts poultry farm's operations

FOR operating without a business permit, a poultry farm—believed to be the cause of a fly infestation in two barangays in Toledo City, Cebu—has been issued a cease and order (CDO).

The Toledo City Government issued the CDO on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 12, 2019, according to City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) chief Amando Cavan in a phone interview with SunStar Cebu.

The issuance of the CDO came a day after Mayor Marjorie Perales sent a team to conduct an inspection at Emil’s Poultry in Barangay Cambang-ug last Monday, Nov. 11. SunStar Cebu tried to reach Perales through text and calls, but got no response.

Findings

Before issuing the CDO, Perales had met with members of the team, which was composed of the personnel from the City Health Office, City Assessor’s Office, City Engineering Office, City Veterinary Office and the Public Information Office. They discussed their findings.

In an interview at the Provincial Capitol in Cebu City last Monday, Perales said the team found out that the poultry farm had been operating without a business permit.

The team, as well as employees and officials of Barangay Cambang-ug, discovered that the farm has been cleaned, “without any fowl or chicken in the area.”

The farm’s personnel were spraying chemicals in the vicinity when the team arrived.

The team, though, suspected that the management failed to maintain the sanitary conditions of the tunnel vent and it “did not follow disinfection schedule.”

Owner’s appeal

In a separate phone interview on Tuesday afternoon, Jerry Oberes, the farm’s owner, said: “No comment. We’ll just wait for the City Government to take action.”

Oberes said his poultry farm started operations sometime in 2010. It can accommodate an estimated 50,000 chickens and it supplies to integrators. An integrator is the owner of a processing plant that harvests broilers from a poultry farm.

Oberes failed to give exact figures on how many heads of chickens his poultry farm could supply on a weekly or monthly basis since this would depend on how many broilers would be harvested.

“But our only appeal to the City Government is to check the distance between our farm and these people who are complaining about the fly infestation,” Oberes said in Cebuano.

Complaints

Earlier, the village chiefs of barangays Cambang-ug and General Climaco had raised concerns on the swarms of flies that had plagued their sitios in the past two weeks.

“I think the City Government should also check the dumpsite in Barangay Putingbato, which I think is not less than five kilometers from Cambang-ug,” Oberes said.

The dumpsite was the subject of complaints from residents of Putingbato and neighboring Barangay Canlumampao in January 2019.

On Jan. 9, 2019, Cenro sprayed 500 millimeters of bio-enzymes to get rid of the stench by speeding up the decomposition of trash.

Compliant farm

As to the absence of a business permit, Emil Oberes, Jerry’s son, said they have been compliant with the necessary documents even before starting their operations in 2010.

“Since then, we’ve been complying with all of these requirements annually,” he said.

In 2017, though, the poultry farm had encountered a hitch after its conventional building experienced technical problems. It was also during this time that the management and barangay officials were invited to a technical conference by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“There were complaints about flies because of our conventional building. So my father and I agreed to close down the building to stop the swarm of flies. As a result, we had to temporarily stop operations for a year,” Emil said.

In 2018, the management tried to apply for a new business permit; it failed.

“Again, we didn’t operate for almost a year because we know that we were not issued with a business permit,” Emil said.

Sometime in August or September 2019, the poultry farm applied again for a business permit.

Emil said they paid close to P100,000 to the Toledo City Hall after complying with all the requirements.

“We were confident that they would issue a business permit to us because when we applied, we had already completed all the requirements and they also accepted our payment,” he said in Cebuano.

Perales earlier said two pending business permit applications filed between August and September were still with the assistant city administrator for review.

The mayor said she wanted to find out what kind of measures the applicants would implement to ensure that their poultry farms do not become breeding grounds for flies. (RTF)