European eel. Photo by Ron Offermans
MANILA - Farmers in San Mateo, Isabela have expressed alarm after hearing news that a woman was recently attacked by an eel or "kiwet" while harvesting from a rice field there.
The 52-year-old female farmer reportedly sustained wounds in her uterus after a European eel entered her vagina.
The farmers said the eels damage rice fields in the area.
Female farmers now wear several layers of clothing and bring a stick to ensure their safety when harvesting.
Brigida Pascua and Leticia Galapon said that while some of their co-farmers did not show up due to fear of being attacked by eels, they still went to work since they need to earn money.
"Pano, wala kaming hanapbuhay. Yan ang hanapbuhay namin kaya tiisin namin," Galapon said.
Aside from the rice fields in San Mateo, fields in the 3rd and 4th districts of Isabela are also being attacked by the eels.
Meanwhile, the provincial agriculture office has yet to determine where the eels came from.
Provincial agriculturist Danilo Tumamao said: "Binubutas nito yung palayan. Hindi kasi ito sa mismong dike bumubutas, sa gitna ito bumubutas kaya nauubos yung tubig ng palayan nila."
"Kritikal yung nasa reproductive stage. Hindi kasi ito pwedeng matuyuan ng tubig kapag nasa booting stage ito," he added.
For now, farmers continue to conduct electrofishing while the government has yet to find a way to drive the eels away. -- Report from Julius Camba, ABS-CBN News Isabela