Probe sought on letter asking sale of banned pesticide-A A +A
Thursday, September 12, 2013
A CONCERNED citizen from Kibungan asked the Benguet Provincial Board to investigate an alleged fake letter claiming it came from the farmers of the town requesting for the lifting of the ban on an identified chemical compound.
Regina Acod, farmer and member of the Kibungan women's group, appeared before the officials Thursday in order to raise her concern on the letter.
She acquired the letter from the Provincial Governor’s office. The office received it on March 1.
The letter came from a certain farmer cooperator Jun Depalog of Kibungan while 20 alleged farmers signed the petition. Acod said she is from the town and as far as she knows, the signatories are non-existent. She added the letter does not really represent the genuine farmers and their opinions on the banning of the substance.
Acod said most of the farmers in her town want the ban to remain in order to minimize suicide cases. She explained it is for the protection of those who wanted to take their own lives and the ban will help a lot in preventing suicide cases in town.
In between 2007 and 2009, there had been an increase of suicide cases with the use of the pesticide. The problem reached the office of Governor Nestor Fongwan and immediately issued an administrative order creating a provincial pesticide task force to investigate on the matter.
After series of evaluation, the task force came up with recommendation and among these is the banning of the pesticide in the province. On July 7, 2009, Fongwan requested the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) to ban the pesticide in Benguet. The FPA banned it and is still in effect until today.
In his letter, Depalog said the farmers can still avail of the pesticide from nearby provinces which defeats the purpose of the ban. He asked the FPA to lift the ban now for the benefits of the farmers in Benguet who are eager to use the pesticide in order to produce high yielding plants.
Fongwan referred the matter to the provincial health officer for a comment before his action while the provincial board referred the problem to the committee on agriculture for further review.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 13, 2013.