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PIA Press Release
2009/06/16

EMB to PBGEA: Strengthen measures against bio-accumulation of pesticides

Davao City (16 June) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) told banana growers to address people's right to a healthy and clean environment by strengthening measures against the bio-accumulation of pesticides.

"There is a need for the industry to consider the public's expectation for the industry to maintain safe agricultural practices," said EMB Director Julian Amador in a round-table discussion Wednesday with industry decision-makers as he announced plans to upgrade the capability of their local office to monitor and analyze pesticide residues in the air, soil and water.

The banana growers welcome the move saying that it will help them prove once and for all "the utmost safety of aerial spraying vis-a-vis ground spraying."

Dr. Emily Fabregar, chairperson of the PBGEA's Technical Committee, earlier showed to the EMB the precision and efficiency of aerial spraying in ensuring that the medicinal mists against the Black Sigatoka fungi are deposited on the leaves rather than on the ground.

Fabregar assured the EMB that "the aerial spraying of low-dose fungicide is definitely not harmful to people's health and the environment" citing unassailable scientific data from the World Health Organization and the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) in Rome , the US Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Meanwhile, a Mindanao-based foundation called on government and non-government organizations to put their resources and talents to good use by helping thousands of subsistence farmers in the highlands in the proper use of pest-control methods rather than in bashing the banana industry.

Sulong Mindanao Foundation chairman and president, retired Col. Douglas O. Rosete made the appeal in the wake of what he finds "as a planned and systematic assault against Mindananao's flagship industry."

"The industry is not only sustaining the country's economy during these most challenging times but also brought peace to conflict areas and prosperity to poverty-stricken communities," said Rosete as he warned against well-funded unarmed mercenaries now on the prowl in the highlands to sabotage the economy and undermine the island's peace and order situation.

He said that aerial spraying is already the most-monitored and very strictly regulated agricultural activity in the country and banning it is like "killing the duck that lays the golden eggs that brought peace and a better quality of life to hundreds of thousands of Mindanaon households." (ERL/DevComm Mindanao) [top]

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