Fate of aerial spray ban now with Duterte

Councilor Leonardo Avila III said they will endorse the ordinance to the Office of the City Mayor, who he said will take care of drafting the implementing mechanism.

Avila, however, said they could not preempt the decision of the mayor. The mayor can either approve to execute or veto a legislation passed by the local council.

Avila said they were given a free hand by the mayor to work on the legislation. He said they will also give the mayor a free hand in arriving at a decision.

The study Duterte commissioned to probe allegations that aerial spraying caused environmental and health hazards found no scientific basis to ban aerial spring at this time.

It recommended that aerial spraying be allowed only in existing agricultural farms with a compact area of no less than 50 hectares.

However, it further recommended, if and when there are communities/houses, major rivers and city and national roads, adjacent to the compact areas, a buffer zone of not less than 50 meters must be established.   

The study also recommended that in order to avoid recurring concerns and potential complaints regarding the health and safety of people, aerial spraying should be prohibited in all new areas that are not compact and less than 50 hectares.  

It also recommended a phase out period if aerial spraying is banned.

The study was conducted by a team of technicians led by City Planning and Development Coordinator Engr. Luis Mario Jacinto.  

The formal name of the ordinance, first proposed by Councilor Nenita Orcullo in 2004, is  "An ordinance banning aerial spraying as an agricultural practice in all agricultural activities by all agricultural entities in Davao City".

The ordinance reduced the buffer zone from the study's 50 to 30 meters.

It will be implemented three months after the legislation will be published in a local newspaper, providing for no phase out period.

There has been no indication Duterte would veto it, Avila said. He said they have made various consultations with the mayor and the unanimous decision indicated it.

Duterte said the ordinance is "fine with me" during the weekly television program of the city government.  

The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association indicated this week they are appealing the approval. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)