12 ‘coffins’ for banana firm in protest vs. aerial spraying

Pro-ban group Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (MAAS) protested AJMR Holdings, Inc. for its continued use of aerial spraying application in its banana plantations, and displayed a dozen coffins Friday in front the firm's office along Torres St. here. MAAS estimated the protesters to number 100.


In a statement sent to MindaNews, MAAS said the coffins “symbolize the alleged death of many people because of the diseases attributed to their exposure to chemicals due to aerial spraying”.


They also likened the caskets to the alleged "slow death" of hundreds of children and adults reportedly afflicted with various kinds of diseases.


"Let these coffins become constant reminders of death lurking, always waiting for the perfect timing to blanket our innocent children, their mothers and fathers who are constantly exposed to chemicals, invading us all even at the very place where we are supposed to be safe – our homes," Dagohoy Magaway, who heads MAAS said in the statement.


Jojo Habaradas, external relations officer of AJMR Holdings told MindaNews Friday that the proposed ban was still pending at the city council and “therefore we still have the right to use the method".


City councilors have hit MAAS last month for the embarrassment brought by their Kalabasa (squash) award to councilors Nilo Abellera, Victorio Advincula, Danilo Dayanghirang, and Diosdado Mahipus.


The award was given for the alleged delaying tactics and vested interests of the councilors. The group was censured for impropriety and Mahipus called them "self-righteous” and “self-anointed" environmentalists. Other councilors received flowers for their "support" to the ban ordinance.


MAAS, supported by non-government organization IDIS, has lobbied for the aerial spraying ban ordinance.