Council continues probe on crabs, prawns death in Vitali PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:55

The City Council is expected to deliberate in its regular session on Wednesday resolutions aimed at finding the real cause of death of crabs, prawns and shrimps in Barangay Vitali.

This, after the Council’s Committee of Agriculture chaired by Councilor Miguel ‘Mike’ Alavar motored to Vitali last Friday, where it gathered first hand confirmation that several young crabs and prawns had died prematurely.

Councilors Melchor Rey Sadain and Josephine Pareja, who went along with Alavar, after personally hearing the complaints of affected residents who gathered at a chapel at the defunct Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) complex, both vowed to bring the matter to the local legislature’s plenary this week, in order to determine the cause of the crustaceans’ death.

“I will be sponsoring a resolution, requesting the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to conduct laboratory tests of the affected fishpond’s water and soil acidity, as well as, requesting the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to copy furnish the City Council, about its recent findings on similar testing, including last year’s findings,” said Sadain.

For her part, Pareja requested both the City Agriculturist Office and BFAR to purchase crab and prawn seedlings from other cities and provinces in the country, that are not affected by white spot syndrome (WSS), “for us to know, whether it is true that said water contamination is prevalent only here in the Zamboanga Peninsula. as recently claimed by CAO’s Field Officer Rico Tabal.

Tabal, along with other fishpond operators, claimed to have mostly purchased their seedlings from Zamboanga del Norte, where similar infestation on cultured crabs and prawns were also reported.

Other probabilities for water contamination also surfaced during the said discussions, ranging from the possible use of insecticides by fishpond operators in ridding their ponds of predators or unwanted fish, that eat their seedlings, up to the suspected disposal of chemicals by a mining firm, which was granted permit by the city government to explore iron ore minerals in the mountains of Vitali more than three years ago, a claim vehemently denied by the firm’s  officials.

“Councilor Alavar’s committee is most welcome to inspect our exploration site and we have nothing to be worried about, as we are still in an exploratory stage where we just drill for potential minerals and nothing else, no use of any chemicals, because we are not on a full mining operation”, explained Engr. Leo Sosa, ATRO Mining-Vitali resident manager.

Sosa said even when their operation would go on a full swing, “iron ore mining does not require the use of any chemicals, as it purely deals on drilling and gathering of stones where this kind of minerals cling to”.

Meanwhile, Alavar’s committee is set to continue with its investigation, with a visitation to ATRO Mining’s exploration site on Saturday, which is located some 17 kilometers away from Vitali proper. — Philip Abuy