Court temporarily blocks aerial spray ban

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 June) — The banana industry scored over the
city government in what appears to be the biggest court proceedings
over environment legislation in this part of the world.

The Regional Trial Court granted a 90-day writ of preliminary
injunction against the city government’s ordinance banning aerial
spraying in agricultural plantations.

In a decision dated June 20 made public Thursday, RTC Judge Renato
Fuentes favored the petition of the Pilipino Banana Growers and
Exporters Association (PBGEA) to temporarily halt the implementation
of the ordinance.

The court decision moved the effectivity of City Ordinance 03-090-07
Series of 2007 from June 23 to September 23. In the next three months,
it will be status quo for PBGEA member companies as the city
government cannot impose the ban yet.Fuentes took merit in PBGEA’s claim that the three-month phaseout
period set by the city council when it approved the ordinance was too
short for them to shift to an alternative method of spraying.

The judge pointed out that the three months given by the city
government for the banana industry to shift method was “unreasonable”
and rendered the industry physically impossible to adopt.

Fuentes cited that the city government even took at least six months
to deliberate on passing the legislation.

During the hearings, PBGEA presented witnesses attesting it would need
at least three years to shift to an alternative method vice aerial
spraying and an investment of at least P400 million to do that.

Fuentes pointed out the court has recognized PBGEA’s right
“anticipating a certainty of grave and irreparable damage and injuries
the petitioner will suffer if the remedy is not granted.”

Fuentes towed the line of the banana industry on the issue of the
ordinance’s threat to business.

“To ensure the protection of substantial right and interest of
petitioner, recognizing its vested right, in embarking into a vast
multifarious investment, not only for their material benefit and gain
but for the benefit and advantage of the City of Davao as well as in
terms of income and employment of the people,” he said.

Fuentes, however, deferred decision on the constitutionality of the
ordinance, saying both parties have to present more evidence in
another court proceeding.

The court decision has given the banana industry and the city
government three more months to gather evidence for the decision on

“Within such period, whether petitioner (PBGEA, et al.) will go into
other method of ground spraying or not, the court will definitely
decide this case on the merits on the question of constitutionality or
unconstitutionality of the assailed ordinance in its entirety,”
Fuentes said in his nine-page decision. (Full story to follow)


About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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