PBGEA posts P1-M bond for 3–month reprieve from aerial spray ban

Regional Trial Court Judge Renato Fuentes directed the PBGEA to post the cash bond after he granted its petition for injunction. The ordinance banning aerial spray is supposed to take effect on June 23, following a three-month phase-out period preparatory to the shift to ground spraying.

A temporary injunction is a preliminary order of the court, granted at the outset or during the pendency of an action, forbidding the performance of the threatened acts described in the original complaint until the rights of the parties respecting them shall have been finally determined by the court.

While the 90-day temporary injunction is in effect, it will be status quo for the banana industry.

The judge ruled that the three month period given by the city government for the banana industry to shift to ground spraying was "unreasonable” and physically impossible to adopt.

Personnel at the  Office of the RTC Branch 17 Clerk of Court confirmed to MindaNews Friday afternoon that PBGEA lawyers posted the bond before 5 p.m.

The PBGEA had hoped the writ could be issued before offices closed on June 22 because the next day was the start of the effectivity of the ordinance.

But the writ can be issued only on Monday, hence, the ordinance would be effective for two days – June 23 and 24 – and will be lifted through the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction on Monday, June 25, the clerk of court said.

Fuentes said  the million-peso bond would be used to answer for any damages the respondents and intervenors would sustain due to the issuance of the writ, if the court decides that PBGEA was not entitled to it.

PBGEA President Stephen Antig told GMA TV Friday the P1 million bond was something they can live with compared with the millions of pesos they would spend in the shift to ground spraying.

PBGEA lawyers have presented witnesses attesting they need at least three years and P400 million for the shift from aerial to ground spraying.

Lia Jasmine Esquillo, of non-government organization IDIS, said third party intervenors were going to contest the ruling that the three-month phase-out period in the ordinance was “unreasonable.”

She maintained it was a reasonable time, citing supposed testimonies of PBGEA witnesses that the shift could be made easily and any time.

Lawyer Melchor Quitain of the Davao City Legal Office told television reporters they would appeal the ruling in due time.

Peoples organizations based in communities where the banana firms use aircrafts to spray chemicals pledged to monitor if planes take off on June 23, when the ordinance takes effect.

Dagohoy Magaway of the Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying told MindaNews in an interview they have fielded monitor teams in six barangays where banana companies use aircraft to spray chemicals.  

Aerial spraying is used in around 900 of the 5,000 hectares of land planted to banana in Davao City, Councilor Leonardo Avila III told reporters last year.

Among the areas affected are Dakudao, Tamayong, Sirib, and Subasta in Calinan district; Manuel Gianga in Tugbok; and Tigato and Mandug in Buhangin district. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)