Group wants Panigan River studied for contamination

March 26th, 2012 by

A volunteer group that monitors the Panigan River, Brgy. Tawan Tawan, Baguio District has recommended the need to conduct a study in the areas along the watershed to detemine what caused the possible contamination on the water body.

Aian B. Gumapac, a member of Bantayo Aweg who presented the results of their water monitoring study yesterday, said the river might be in danger of contamination as the nitrate and phosphate level goes beyond the international standards.

Bantayo Aweg is a volunteer group composed of individuals based in Brgy. Tawan Tawan which has monitored the river since 2006 by measuring the temperature, color, pH, stream flow discharge and dissolved oxygen, nitrate and phosphate content.

“The river is still clear and has enough oxygen to support fishes but we are concerned about the level of phosphates and nitrates in the water,” he said.

Last year, the phosphate level in Panigan River reached to 0.5 mg/L while the nitrate level was above 1 mg/L. The river should only have a phosphate level of 0.1 mg/L and nitrate level of 1 mg/L to qualify on Class AA standards, the highest for clean water.

Gumapac said the existing monocrop plantations along the river should also strictly impose a buffer zone. The fertilizers used by the plantations, he said, could be among the possible contaminants of the Panigan River.

The river, which drains to Tamugan River, has been identified by the Davao City Water District as the future source of drinking water.

Lawyer Joseph Dominic Felizarta, officer in charge of City Environment and Natural Resources Office, vowed that they would strictly order the existing monocrop plantations and residents within the watershed to have a buffer zone of at least 40 meters.

“We can implement it using the Watershed Code,” he said.

The city government will also conduct delineation along the city’s eight major watersheds such as Tuganay Watershed, Lasang River, Bunawan River, Davao River, Matina River, Talomo Watershed, Lipadas Watershed and Sibulan River.

The program is to delineate the areas identified in the terrain analysis study of Mines and Geosciences Bureau which was conducted in 2005. It is also pursuant to the full implementation of the 2007 Watershed Code.

The Watershed Management Council, with representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will conduct the delineation. They will mark the areas by placing signages if it is non-tillage, conservation or primary agricultural lands.  (Kristianne Fusilero, Mindanao Times)

National faith-based network supports Ban Aerial Spray campaign

March 7th, 2012 by

DAVAO CITY–  Around 281 faith-based organizations, non governmental organizations ,  people’s organizations and members of the Catholic clergy nationwide urged the Supreme Court to resolve the legality of the Davao City ordinance banning aerial spraying in favour of the affected communities.

These organizations, belonging to the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI), issued the statement during its 4th General Assembly last March 1, 2012  at the Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City.

Prefacing their statement with a quote from a letter of Pope Benedict XVI entitled  “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation”, the group also called on President Benigno Aquino III to issue an Executive Order halting aerial spraying practices in all agricultural areas in the country.

In that letter, Pope Benedict XVI had written that “Environmental degradation is often due to the lack of far-sighted official policies or to the pursuit of myopic economic interests, which become a serious threat to creation..Every economic decision has a moral consequence!”

Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying  (MAAS) President Dagohoy Magaway  welcomed the statement of national support for banning aerial spraying saying that this is candid proof that there are many groups nationwide who  recognize the validity of the  precautionary principle which is the basis of MAAS’ campaign to ban aerial spray.

“The Supreme Court and President Aquino should heed this growing clamor nationwide and take immediate steps to halt the practice of aerial spraying in banana plantations everywhere.”, he said.

Last year, President Aquino had tasked the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD)  to convene a workshop to consolidate recommendations from various stakeholders on the issue. However, the workshop failed to include representatives  coming from MAAS and the affected communities.