Cebu News

Council, government agencies to tackle snake sightings

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-7, Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMO), and Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) are invited to an executive session to educate the members of the Cebu City Council and recommend possible legislative interventions relative to the recent sightings of venomous snakes in the mountain areas of the city.

In a privilege speech on Wednesday, February 7, Councilor Pastor Alcover, Jr. expressed his concern over the recent cobra sightings in the upland barangays.

Alcover said his attention was especially drawn to a viral video of a cobra locally known as “Banakon” found on the roadside in Barangay Busay, Cebu City on January 29.

According to him, the sight raises concern among the public in the mountain areas of the city, including himself who also frequents the mountainous parts.

Alcover cited Section 27 of Republic Act no. 9147 or the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act” which states that, “It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully and knowingly exploit wildlife resources and their habitats, or undertake the following acts: killing and destroying wildlife species, except…when it is done as part of the religious rituals of established tribal groups or indigenous cultural communities; when the wildlife is afflicted with an incurable communicable disease; when it is deemed necessary to put an end to the misery suffered by the wildlife; when it is done to prevent an imminent danger to the life or limb of a human being; and when the wildlife is killed or destroyed after it has been used in authorized research or experiments.”

According to Alcover, there is a need to highlight these provisions adding that the people in the mountain barangays were in an assumption that those who would kill the cobra will be jailed.

“Tinuod ma priso ang mopatay og wildlife basta walay igong kapasikaran o basihan. Apan kung ang imong kinabuhi peligro nunot aning banakon. Puwede nimong pasakitan o mapatay kini na mananap,” said Alcover.

He then raises the question on why these snakes even surfaced in the first place at this point of time. He also asked if these snakes were “endemic species” in Cebu Island.

Earlier, DENR officials said that the sightings of snakes could be attributed to the “mating season”.

The legislator also asked about the availability of anti-venom in the city.

“Mahinumduman nato kaniadtong tuig 2012 ang kaso ni Ronaldo Aventurado na usa ka employado sa kaniadtong Cebu City Zoo. Ang nakadugang sa problema kay walay anti-venom nganhi sa Sugbo atong panahona. Maayo na lang gani kay naay nitabang na mga pribadong kompanya ug nakakuha ug anti-venom sa Camiguin,” said Alcover.

Officials of the Department of Health (DOH) already said that there is no available anti-venom for cobra bite in the city. Health officials explained that Cebu is not among the priorities for anti-venom supply since there have been no cases of snakebites in the island. — /FPL (FREEMAN)

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