PGMA intervention in aerial spraying row in Mindanao sought

October 23, 2009 9:56 am 

MANILA, Oct. 23 – An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace is seeking an audience with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to discuss the banning of the use of aerial spraying in banana plantations in Mindanao.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the CBCP wanted the President to personally know what were the effects of aerial spraying to the people living near the agricultural estates.

“They beg for the safety of their lives, livelihood, and the future of their children,” said the NASSA chairman in their letter to President Arroyo dated Oct. 20.

Pabillo met with some of Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (MAAS) members Friday afternoon at the Arzopispado de Manila in Intramuros.

MAAS is composed of residents living near or inside a banana plantation in Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley.

Liezel Bacalzo of Davao City said the people in the plantations would continue to suffer if aerial spraying were not banned.

“Every time they conduct aerial spraying our eyes become watery. We experience difficulty in breathing because of its foul smell,” she said.

Bacalzo also said that aside from breathing poisonous air, the supply of water and food were also contaminated with pesticide that caused stomach ache and itchy skin.

She said they decided to seek the help of the national government after they failed to convince their local government to help them in their cause.

“We decided to bring our cause here in Manila to appeal to the different agencies of the government the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Agriculture (DA) to come up with an administrative order banning aerial spraying in the whole Philippines,” Bacalzo said. (PNA)

RMA/FGP/utb

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