AN ADMINISTRATIVE order banning aerial spray throughout the country may no longer be signed under the present administration's last six months of service.

Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) president Stephen Antig said they will continue to keep their fingers crossed until formal pronouncements will be made by government officials.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Antig said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, through Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Jesus Dureza, has hinted at the possibility of creating a task force that will conduct a new and comprehensive study on the effects of aerial spray.

"As long as it will be independent and credible," Antig said in an interview with Sun.Star Davao.

An administrative order banning aerial spraying as an agricultural practice continues to sit on the desk of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.

The agriculture department is now reportedly doing research on the economic effects of converting to truck mounted boom sprays from aerial spraying.

This particular move has baffled the players of the Cavendish exporting industry.

"If the issue is whether the fungicide sprayed is hazardous or not, there is no need to discuss about the economic repercussions," a banana grower said.

Supporters of the banana industry also hit on the alleged bias stance of Health Secretary Francisco Duque who has reportedly snubbed banana farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, and other supporters of aerial spraying as the group sought for a meeting last December.

The group wanted to personally talk and present to the health secretary its own side on the controversial issue of aerial spraying in banana plantations, and to discuss the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) to stop aerial spraying.

"Why was Dr. Duque afraid to face us while casually discussing issues with Dr. Quijano? Is he hiding something from us?" asked Rodrigo M. Villanueva, head of the agrarian reform beneficiaries of Diamond Farms in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte and one of the leaders who went to Duque's office. (CPM)