Davao City to appeal CA’s 60-day TRO vs aerial spraying

Lawyer Wendel Avisado, Davao City Administrator, told reporters the City Legal Office is looking at filing for an appeal for a temporary reprieve. He said the TRO, considered by the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association as a “relief,” is "just part of the judicial process."

Avisado told MindaNews Wednesday as a result of the court order,  the city has suspended the implementation of the ban.

Reporters went to see City Legal Office chief Melchor Quitain Wednesday afternoon, but the latter begged off, through  his secretary.

Lia Jasmine Esquillo, of Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), a third party intervener to the case, said they would appeal the TRO. 

The issuance of a TRO triggered simultaneous protests in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Davao.

The Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (citizens against aerial spraying) said in a press release Wednesday that the rally in front of the Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro was met with at least a dozen police men in full battle gear. 

According to the press release, MAAS member Marcelo Villaganes, who joined the protest in Cagayan de Oro, said police came with long firearms.

Protesters also reported seeing one of PBGEA's counsels allegedly taking photos of the protesters.

The Davao City rally was attended by 40 MAAS members.

Corazon Sabinada, a resident of Sirib village, where spraying is done, told reporters CA's decision was a victory for those who wield influence and power but is a defeat for those the people who have been affected by the deadly effects of aerial spraying.

"Hangtod kanus-a man gyud nila palisud-lisuran ang katawhang gagmay nga dugay nang nagpadangat sa pagdili sa aerial spraying. Ang ilang TRO nga gipangayo, nga nahatag usab kanila, usa lamang ang buot pasabot kini ang mas dugay pa namong pag-antos, (Until when will they inflict suffering on the people who have long expressed opposition to aerial spraying?). The TRO is prolonging this suffering,” Sabinada said.

The CA decided on the 60-day TRO on November 16 but the ruling was released to the media only on November 23.

Protesters in the Davao rally accused the banana industry of supposed "obsession for profit and greed over the welfare of the people and the environment."

PBGEA countered the protests with a press release issued by Anthony Sasin, PBGEA's newly-appointed spokesperson.

PBGEA dismissed the rally as "obviously intended to exert undue pressure on the Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro."

"All that we want is a fair, objective and sober resolution of the merits by the Court of Appeals. It is unfortunate that the other parties are resorting to these tactics to put undue pressure on the court, instead of focusing their attention to pleading their case in court based on law and evidence," Sasin said.

Sasin said they are confident the appellate court wont' swayed by the protests.

"We are confident that the Court of Appeals will resolve the matter based on the merits," he said. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)