THE unresolved issue of aerial spraying is the single largest threat to the thriving economy of Southern Mindanao, an assessment report of an agricultural conglomerate revealed.

In an interview with Sun.Star Davao, Antonio Floirendo Corporation (Anflocor) President Alex Valoria said the issues raised against the banana industry, particularly on the use of aerial spraying as an agricultural method, is a farce.

“Here we have an industry where the Filipinos have proven to the world that they are the best in doing, yet we are caught up in an issue that has no basis,” Valoria said.

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Barangay Antonio O. Floirendo has been praised by the Department of Health (DOH) as the most livable barangay in the country due to comprehensive distribution of basic services to the people.

Incidentally, the barangay is located at the heart of the massive Tagum Development Company (Tadeco) Inc., one of the largest banana plantations in the country that uses aerial spraying as an agricultural method to ward off the deadly Sigatoka disease.

“We prize our people, they are our best assets. The company would have not survived without its people and I don’t think that the people will support the company if it has been hazardous for them,” Valoria said. “The people (workers) know the truth.”

Davao del Norte second district Representative Anton Lagdameo, a scion of the Floirendo clan, said there is really no truth to the claims of non-government organizations on the “hazardous effects” of the fungicide being sprayed.

“We used to run after the planes that sprayed fungicide in our plantations when we were still kids. We actually bathe in the spray. But look at us, we are more than okay, I am not sick,” Lagdameo said. (CPM)