Marathon hearings set in aerial-spraying ban dispute

May. 25, 2007

DAVAO CITY — A Davao City court has given a group representing the banana industry four days to justify its petition seeking to stop the implementation of a ban on the aerial spraying of pesticides.

Judge Renato Fuentes of the regional trial court branch 17 scheduled the marathon hearing on Monday, May 28, up to Thursday, May 31.

The city government will then have the opportunity to defend the ban and explain why the appeal by the industry group, the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), to stop the implementation ban must be junked.

Fuentes earlier recommended that both parties settle amicably the issue of the three-month phaseout period before the ban takes effect. But both sides failed to reach any agreement. The nongovernment organization Interface Development Interventions Inc. (Idis) blamed the failure on what it called “corporate greed and arrogance” on the part of PBGEA.

“Because of the snag, a full-blown court battle is now inevitable,” Idis said in a statement.

Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of Idis, said bringing the issue to court is “PBGEAs way of harassing the authorities” and all those who supported the ban.

While it is an exercise of democracy, we believe bringing it to court was PBGEAs way of telling those who were behind the banning that they (PBGEA) will do everything just to spoil that desire of many to live in a safe environment and have a protected life, Esquillo said.

Their appeal for an issuance of a preliminary injunction exposes their real color. It shows their arrogance and their disrespect of the will of the people and the decision of the authorities, Esquillo added.

The aerial spraying ban will take effect on June 23, four months after it was signed into law by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. (

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