Banana firms scored for failure to settle dispute over aerial spraying

May. 24, 2007

DAVAO CITY — The failure of the city government and the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) to come up with an amicable settlement over aerial spraying can only be blamed on the resistance of the banana industry group to adhere to the aerial spraying ban.

And this resistance is borne out of greed for money.

This was the reaction of the environmental nongovernment organization Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (Idis) following reports that the recommendation of the court for both parties to reach and amicable settlement failed.

Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of Idis, said that the problem really lies with PBGEAs real intention, which according to her is to defy the implementation of the ban.

This really shows their true intent all along, which is to resist the implementation of the ordinance. This is blatant display of corporation of arrogance. But what is new? They have blatantly disregarded aerial spraying regulations, intentionally spraying people with poison, Esquillo said.

There is nothing to expect from these banana companies but to see more of their greediness and disrespect to the will of the people and the decision of the authorities. In fact the case they filed against the city government is a big slap on the face of intention of the authorities to protect the people from the harm of aerial spraying, Esquillo added.

Recently the court has recommended for PBGEA and the city government to settle amicably the issue on the period before the aerial spraying ordinance is fully implemented. The city council has agreed in February to implement the ban three months after the ordinance was passed.

But what the companies are currently up to, Esquillo said, is to hostage the city government and circumvent the law by resorting to using all the possible legal excuses.

What we can see now is that these banana companies, for all the billions of pesos they have already padded into their coffers because of putting up plantations here and thus damaging the environment and poisoning the people, are really hell bent in blocking the implementation of the ordinance, Esquillo said.

This is what happens when greed for money hardens the heart. Everything is forgotten. Not even morals is consideredeven the protection of life is set aside, Esquillo added.

PBGEA said the decision of the city government to ban aerial spraying was non-workable and unacceptable. The city, on the other hand, stands by its earlier decision saying there is no way for the government to compromise the lives of the people and the environment.

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