Duterte on spray ban: Our duty is to protect the people of Davao

The Department of Agriculture confirmed reports Yap will be in town to meet with the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) this Friday amid calls for the recall or veto of the ordinance banning aerial spraying in agricultural plantations in the city.

But Duterte said he respects the opinion of other people on the issue of the ordinance banning aerial spraying. He said he got the impression that Yap will ask him to veto the ordinance in an effort to help the city's banana industry.

Yap was here last week to launch projects of the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA).

The city council, on Jan. 23, unanimously passed the ordinance banning aerial spraying. It gave the banana industry three months to phase out the practice and shift to ground spraying instead.

The PBGEA appealed for reconsideration and asked the mayor to give strength to the "Jacinto report," which he commissioned to investigate reports that aerial spraying causes health and environmental hazards. The report called for strict regulation, not banning.

PBGEA is seeking a 25-year phaseout period.

Duterte, however, was mum over reports he will give in to PBGEA's appeal. He said until now the ordinance has not been transmitted to him.

City Councilor Leo Avila III, the city council's environment committee chair, said if the mayor chooses to reconsider, it is either he will veto the ordinance or ask the councilors to recall the legislation. He said, however, that it will be an awkward move for the local law-making body.