Malaybalay mayor backs Davao aerial spray ban

"We in the City of Malaybalay at the heart of Bukidnon Province, express our fervent support to ban aerial spraying in Davao City, and elsewhere," Flores said in a statement read in a press conference organized by ban advocates in Cagayan de Oro City in time for the commemoration of Earth Day last April 22.

The mayor said while they believe transnational and multinational companies mean well, and that local producers are intent on helping the economy as well, they strongly condemn their means of achieving their goals. time for the commemoration of Earth Day.

Flores said banana industry players should take responsibility and find fungicides that are eco-friendly and do not pose such great risks to the health of the people and the ecosystem.

"Aerial spraying is not the only means for these companies to profit. There are methods to protect their plantations from unwanted organisms, they should find means how to do it," he said.

He said they need jobs in the city but not the harmful jobs as he pushed for sustainable alternative of agricultural production.  

The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association argued the ban in Davao City would be economically disastrous and unviable for its biggest export crop.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte signed the ordinance last year but the banana industry took the legal course of bringing the matter from city's Regional Trial to the Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro City.

The Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (MAAS) (Citizens Against Aerial Spraying), a group that lobbied for the ban ordinance has expanded advocacy to other local governments.

Last month, they held a caravan from Davao City to Cagayan de Oro for an information drive seen as a way to pressure the CA's decision. The PBGEA criticized the campaign but local government and church officials in Bukidnon responded with statements of support.

Flores' statement is the recent addition to the string of support voiced out in support of the ban.

Davao City Councilor Leonardo Avila III, who joined the caravan told radio audiences in Malaybalay City that the CA decision could affect Bukidnon's own ban. Bukidnon has imposed its own aerial spray ban in 2001. (Walter I. Balane /MindaNews)