2 banana plantations violate buffer zone policy

March 30th, 2011 by

DAVAO CITY – An environment  group said two banana plantations in Davao City have not complied with the 50-meter buffer zone requirement.

An environmental research commissioned by the Interface Development Interventions (Idis) in several banana plantations in Davao City’s third district showed that two plantations violate the 50-meter buffer zone policy.

Lawyer Glocelito C. Jayma, who was commissioned by Idis to conduct the legal research, said that in his five months of research, he found out malpractices of several banana plantations in Sirib and Tawan-tawan in Calinan area.

In a forum with different people’s organizations and several barangay officials surrounded by banana plantations about the findings of the research, Jayma said buffer zone refers to the distance between the area planted with bananas from an either private or public structure.

“Sa akong research na gibuhat, ug sa ma pag-interview nako sa mga residente didto, nakita nako na nay juy mga wala nag-follow kung unsa naa sa balaod (In my research and interview of residents there, I learned that there are some who failed to follow the law),” Jayma said.

The results of the research did not, however, name the two erring banana plantations.

Jayma was referring to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) circular 2009-14, which provides a 50-meter buffer zone surrounding every banana planted area.

“In order to protect the environment, as well as the health of the people and pursuant to the recent aerial spraying guidelines issued by the fertilizer and pesticides authority, a buffer zone of 50 meters (50) shall be strictly required from residential areas/rivers or body of water to the Banana plantations,” the circular read.

With the findings, affected residents and the DENR may file a case or class suit against erring banana growers who have failed to observe the buffer zone clearly mandated by law.

“Mag-agad lang gihapon mi sa mga people’s organizations ug mga apektado na mga residente na mag-file ug kaso kung kailangan (It’s all up to those people’s organizations to file appropriate cases if needed),” said Chinkie Peliño, Idis policy advocacy specialist.

Since 1988, Idis has been committed to protecting the inland watershed in the city.

The study conducted by Jayma was the first legal research the group has commissioned to investigate the practices of industries including banana growers that aggravate watersheds. (By Jereco O. Paloma, SUNSTAR DAVAO)

Mayor’s order to ban chemicals hailed

March 8th, 2011 by

DAVAO CITY- An environment group welcomed Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s directive to stop the use of chemicals in combating the rat infestation that has plagued farms in the hinterlands.

Lia Esquillo, executive director of the Interface Development Interventions Inc. (IDIS), said the directive was in tune with the city’s direction toward ensuring a healthy environment for Dabawenyos.

“This comes as no surprise for us, considering that the previous policies that have been crafted in Davao City have always been pro environment,” she said.

As a member of the EcoWaste Coalition, advocating sustainable solutions to chemical issues, climate change and waste, IDIS is also campaigning for the widespread adoption of the precautionary principle in dealing with environmental cases such as the rat infestation.

The precautionary principle approach puts the protection of health and the environment over and above the purposed benefits the use of chemicals may result to.

“The widespread use of a rodenticide to wipe out the rats may have unforeseen effects on the environment. This is why it is best to look at environment-friendly pest management methods to control the rat infestation in croplands,” she added.

Esquillo also emphasized the need to protect the biodiversity of the farmlands.

“Studies have shown the pest control is an important ecosystem service that is dependent on biodiversity. To improve pest control, we need to ensure that the environment is healthy enough to support diverse populations of natural enemies of pests,” she said.

Last week, City Agriculturist’s Office head Leo Avila revealed that the rampant killing of snakes and owls have left the rodents with no natural predators to curb their population.