A village in the Philippines is giving away free rice to residents in exchange for some dead mosquitoes.
In this unusual program in Alion, Bataan province, anyone who surrenders 200 dead mosquitoes to the barangay hall can get a kilo (2.2 pounds) of rice, PNA reports.
The initiative, which requires the mosquitoes to be caught by a plate doused in cooking oil, is the brainchild of Alion village chief Marcialito “Al” Balan.
Balan said the program is part of a bid to stop the spread of the dengue virus in his locale.
“Cleaning is still the first, second is the catching of mosquitoes. At least the mosquitoes will be minimized here,” Balan was quoted as saying.
He added that they would not know if the mosquitoes caught are dengue carriers.
According to Balan, moving a plate or basin with used cooking oil left and right is an effective way to catch mosquitoes.
A resident named Marilyn Podol was to claim her free rice after presenting a plateful of mosquitoes.
“I will keep on hunting until the mosquitoes are gone,” she said.
Even the village watchmen have been tasked to search and destroy mosquitoes in the surrounding areas.
The Philippines has recently declared a national dengue epidemic after the health department revealed that 5,000 new cases of dengue were reported each week from January through July 20. So far, 622 people have died of the mosquito-borne disease since January, according to CNN.
Balan noted that there was only one case of dengue in Alion so far and it was actually contracted from another village.
“I hope that all will support the program for the continuous zero cases of dengue in our barangay,” said the village head.
Balan’s strategy, however, has raised concerns from critics who worry this could lead to some villagers starting their own “mosquito farms” to get more rice.
Featured Image via Facebook/Ar Gie