City Councilor Leo Avila told this reporter they would most likely approve today (Aug. 29)the proposed ordinance to ban aerial spraying in Davao’s agricultural plantations. Councilor Avila, who chairs the council environment committee, said the mayor would issue an executive order not to renew the permits of banana firms, if the council will not approve.

Most likely, though, the council will.

Of course, the councilor would not admit it pointblank to the media, but the pressure from the mayor is the tipping point on the decision to ban. (A city councilor who asked not to be named said it takes a miracle to hold the city councilors from voting for the ban.)

Serious debates had been made over the issue this month and in the past and it has raised more issues and controversies.

The main question in front of the legislators of one of Asia’s most livable cities is: Will they choose the banana industry or its thrust to protect the people and the environment? 

Councilor Avila said many councilors have received telephone calls from lobbyists for a stay on the ordinance. He said the banana industry is afraid that if Davao City passes this ordinance, the neighboring local governments might do so and cripple the region’s highest export earner. There were rumors of banana investors pulling out from Davao.    

But Councilor Avila said they are unfazed. Davao’s banana industry is just one of the city’s major sources of income –and, he said they could work out for a possible shift to other crops if the banana industry threatens to leave.

But the councilor  said business and care for environment can go together. “Let’s hope for a workable solution,” he said.

Of course by that he meant: Ban aerial spraying starting January 1, 2007. Its the banana industry who has to budge.

No need to be strange bed felllows. But one has to pull over.

“If it’s the mayor who said it, who among the councilors would go against him? ” the councilor asked. The question is, do they have a choice? Let’s see how they vote.


About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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