Davao Groups Chide Banana Growers Over Case Vs City

Apr. 30, 2007

DAVAO CITY — The Mamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (Maas) chided the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association for filing civil charges against the city government over the controversial aerial spraying ordinance.

Dagohoy Magaway, spokesperson of Maas, said the case emanated from the arrogance and inability of PBGEA to respect the wisdom and decision of the city government over a policy that involved lives of the people and the environment.

Usa lamang kini ka pagpamatuod nga ang PBGEA wala garespeto sa desisyon sa katawhan. Ang ilang desisyon nga ikiha ang city government usa ka dakong sagpa sa panggamhanan ug ilabi na sa katawhan nga sa kadugay nang panahon nag-antos tungod sa aerial spraying, Magaway said.

Magaway said that the people have seen how the city government came up with a decision that underwent a tedious and emotional process. The people, he said, having experienced the pains just to see aerial spraying stopped will never allow anything and anyone to keep its full implementation.

Magpadayon kami sa pagbabag niini. Usa kini ka balaud nga dako ug kalambigitan kanamo nga nagpuyo duol sa mga plantasyon. Buot namong ipaabot sa PBGEA nga ang mga tawo midisider naug ang kagamhanan midisider na usab. Ug inyong babagan ang implementasyon, maningkamot usab kami nga mababagan ang inyong mga tumong, Magaway said.

Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of the environmental group Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (Idis), said the case of PBGEA is a manifestation of the groups denial to recognize its responsibility to provide the people with a secured and safe environment as it do business.

The PBGEA never failed to amaze us with their skewed and self-centered contentions. It is apparent now that this company has totally abandoned its corporate-social responsibility, Esquillo said.

She also criticized the groups contention that the ordinance was oppressive.

Nothing could beat the oppression that the people living in and around the banana plantations in the city are subjected to each time the chemicals used in aerial spraying intrude their houses and cause them harm, Esquillo said.

What could be more oppressive than allowing the people to die slowly die as they inhale and bathe in the chemicals that the PBGEA member companies use in their operations, Esquillo added.

Stephen Antig, president of PBGEA, has reportedly filed a civil case against the city government for passing the aerial spraying ordinance and sought from the Regional Trial Court a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against the government on the implementation of the ordinance passed in February.

The PBGEA said that the ordinance was oppressive and something that does not have basis.

However, during one of the deliberations before the ordinance was signed, prominent health experts have clearly pointed out the harm of the chemicals used by the banana companies in aerial spraying like dithane, a mancozeb-containing chemical which is banned in Libya and restricted in Sweden for its hazardous effects on people and environment.

Aerial spraying, as a mode of pesticide application, also increases the exposure of the people to the pesticides according to toxicologists from the National Poison Control and Management Center.

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