Idis: No comprehensive study on aerial spray

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Saturday, June 28, 2014


THE Inter-Agency Technical Working Group tasked by President Benigno Aquino III to come up with a unified position on the banning of the aerial spray will no longer conduct a comprehensive study on the agricultural practice in plantations.

Interface Development Interventions (Idis) public information officer Mael Paranial said the study was supposed to provide the group basic information on the crafting of its final policy recommendation for Aquino about aerial spraying.

But the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), which is the lead agency of the working group, cited that lack of funds led them to scrap the initial plan and operation for a shortened study.

Neda staff Jean Centeno, in a response to the emailed inquiry of the Idis advocacy coordinator Chinkie Peliño, said that given the lack of fund to support their complete study on the matter, a socio-economic profile (SEP) study will be conducted instead. She added that the SEP will serve as an input to the aerial drift study.

However, the National Task Force Against Aerial Spraying (NTFAA) coordinator Rene Pineda Jr., meanwhile, hit the sudden change of the study. He said such change will result in an incomplete picture of how the aerial spray impacts the communities.

The Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (Maas) chairperson Dagohoy Magaway, on the other hand, echoed the same concern.

He said the study will directly reflect the contention of the pro-aerial spraying groups that a ban on aerial spraying will supposedly result to a massive loss of income in banana plantations.

Idis and Maas earlier insisted that the pesticide drift coming from the aerial spray plane will cause sickness in neighboring communities. This was learned after the groups continue to receive complaints from residents who live near, along or inside banana plantations.

"We had taken pictures of various vegetables showing leaves sprinkled with white dusty particles. Ang sa'min lang naman if this pesticide coming from the aerial spray continue, this will contaminate the vegetables and affect the health of people," Dagohoy said.

Records from Idis and Maas showed that barangays affected by aerial spraying drift are Carmen, Balengeng, Wangan, Tagakpan, and Daliaon.

Meanwhile, areas that are still using such agricultural practices are: Callawa, Mandug, Tigatto, Dacudao, Manuel Gulanga, Tamayong, and Subasta, all in Davao City.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 29, 2014.

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