Councilor Leo Avila told MindaNews Monday they have not met or scheduled a
meeting with Yap on the issue.
Yap was here Wednesday to launch projects at the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) in Mintal district but is reportedly returning here on Wednesday.
In a press release Saturday, party-list Suara Tingog sa Mindanao accused Yap of intervening by allegedly lobbying for the banana companies.
"The intervention of Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap over the issue of aerial spraying in Davao City that reportedly influenced the city council to possibly reconsider their earlier decision to ban anti-aerial spraying," the press release said.
Avila, the city council's environment committee chair, said lobbying with the
city government is tantamount to interfering with local governance.
The City Council unanimously approved on January 23 the ordinance banning
aerial spraying in the city.
Zaynab Ampatuan, national deputy secretary general of Suara, alleged that Yap
met last Wednesday with officials of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters
Association (PBGEA). The association had written Mayor Rodrigo Duterte a
letter of appeal to veto the ordinance.
The alleged meeting could not be confirmed.
In its letter, the PBGEA asked Duterte to give strength to the "Jacinto Report" or the report submitted by a Duterte–created fact-finding committee led by Luis Mario Jacinto of the City Planning and Development Office. The report stood for strict regulations, not banning.
The Suara statement said Yap's decision to lobby for the banana companies was a clear manifestation of how the government can choose to favor and protect the interest of the rich over the welfare of the poor people.
Avila clarified that the stage after the approval of the ordinance is crucial. He said aside from the possibility that the mayor might veto the ordinance, there is still the possibility that a member of the city council would call for the recall of the ordinance following the PBGEA appeal.
The ordinance has not been transmitted to the mayor. He said Vice Mayor Luis Bonguyan has to sign the final draft before the transmission. Duterte would then be given 10 days after receipt of the copy of the ordinance to veto the move. If Duterte does not register his veto within the period, Avila said, the ordinance is automatically approved.