Context: What follows is a recent update on the Anti-Aerial Spray Campaign in Davao.
For those to whom this issue is new, the City of Davao had banned aerial spraying in Davao because of its harmful effects on communities, water and the environment. The principal user of aerial spray, the Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) questioned the ordinance before the Davao RTC where they lost. PBGEA brought the issue before the Court of Appeals which has allowed the harmful practice while they take their time to decide the case.
Please cut and paste this message so more people will be aware that this is happening. Imagine: you are in your house and somebody sprays fungicide or pesticide on you and your children. This is close to what the Davaoenos are going through right now.
Here's the report:
Anti-aerial spray move gets more support
By Grace L. Plata
DAVAO CITY ? While aerial spray ban advocates celebrated Earth Day in Davao City with a torch parade and a concert that lasted until midnight, church and government officials from the provinces of Davao del Sur and Bukidnon also made their collective call against aerial spraying in Cagayan de Oro City.
The call was made Tuesday in a press conference in Cagayan de Oro, where the ordinance banning aerial spraying of pesticide remains in the hand of the Court of Appeals.
Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, in a statement, said both aerial spraying and the expansion of banana plantations in his province, and elsewhere in Mindanao, must be stopped.
"In celebration of World Earth Day, let us spare our people, waters, rivers, and environment from the ills of deforestation and pesticide contamination brought about by the banana plantations," Cagas said.
He said he is resolute in putting a stop to the practice because if it continues, it would mean that, "I am not providing my constituents a healthy body and environment that they inherently deserve. I would not be true to my obligation to protect public welfare".
"I personally believe in the ill effects of these banana plantations to the environment, as they rapidly encroach into our forested areas, especially in the Mt. Apo Natural Park, turning what was once a biologically diverse area into a sea of bananas," Cagas said.
"Worse, these Cavendish bananas, which we do not even eat, threaten our food security as they are taking over our fertile land once devoted to our staple crops such as rice, corn, coconut, and vegetables," Cagas added.
Roland Deniot, Malaybalay City administrator, also read the statement of support issued by Mayor Florencio Flores, saying: "the choice to support all moves mounted against aerial spraying and the expansion of banana plantations is a choice that is for Mother Earth."
"While we believe transnational and multinational companies mean well, and that local producers are intent on helping the economy as well, we strongly condemn their means of achieving their goals," Deniot said.
"Aerial spraying is not the only means for these companies to profit...we can find a sustainable alternative for agricultural production. We can act on other income-generating agri-based industries. We can, and we will, help build a healthier economy but we cannot find another Mother Earth. Only this one," he added.
The Diocese of Malaybalay also aired its support for efforts against aerial spraying like the ordinance passed by the Davao City Government last year banning such practice.
Father Jonathan Tianero, coordinator of the diocesan ecology center, read during the press conference a resolution passed by the diocese of Malaybalay during its recent diocesan pastoral assembly.
The resolution stated that as concerned Church leaders, they "agree with, and appreciate the struggle of, the concerned Dabawenyos and Mindanao leaders."
The resolution was signed by 422 priests, religious, and lay leaders of the 43 parishes of the diocese.
Jerry Orcullo, head of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club Inc. (COPC), personally threw his support to the cause of banning aerial spraying and the expansion of banana plantations.
Orcullo, who is presently fighting cancer, is the brother-in-law of former Davao City councilor Nenita Orcullo who was the original proponent of the ban during the 14th Council.
"Let me convey my continued support to the campaign even as I salute all the people behind the advocacy. Perseverance, daringness, and being resolute will bring us to victory," said Orcullo, who is currently in Manila for treatment, in a text message. (With press release)
Thursday, April 24, 2008