Groups call for stop of aerial spraying in Mindanao

A NETWORK of faith-based and non-government organizations has again urged the government to put a stop on aerial spraying of banana plantations in Mindanao.

The Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMPI) said local and international studies have shown that aerial spraying of banana plantations “has ill-effects to the life and health of people, their livelihood and to the environment.”

(PMPI) is a partnership of more than 200 faith-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs), peoples’ organizations (POs) and development associations in the country.

In a press statement, PMPI criticized the government’s inaction on the matter and lamented that “the environment is being put in danger, including the health, livelihood and welfare of many poor people living around the plantations”, in exchange of short-term economic gains.

Concerned companies, however, claimed the studies made are not convincing enough to effect a ban on aerial spraying.

But PMPI argued that above all else, “the safety of the people and the environment should be given prior protection” while quoting Pope Benedict XVI that “every economic decision has a moral consequence.”

PMPI said a ban on aerial spraying be put in place, despite demands from companies to validate the studies made.

The Arroyo administration failed to act on the issue despite calls from the Department of Health’s to stop aerial spraying because of its harmful effect on people’s health; and recommendations from the Commission on Human Rights to implement a ban “while studies are being conducted and validated.”

With a new government led by Aquino, the group is hoping the ban will be implemented soon.

“We call on President Benigno Aquino, which claims to walk the right path, and the Supreme Court to act decisively against this practice for the sake of the poor and the environment,” PMPI said. RT Monitoring

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