Nina at ForwardPilipinas.org sent this message about the effects of pesticide spraying in the Southern Philippines. We can support the ban by signing the online petition at www.dirtybananas.org.
Communities (around 40,000 people) living within banana plantations in Davao, Mindanao, Southern Philippines have been subjected to regular aerial spraying of pesticides for years, suffering from acute effects such as skin rashes, nausea and stomach cramps. In February, after an imaginative well-coordinated campaign, the City Government of Davao passed an ordinance to ban aerial spraying of pesticides.
What I love about this story is that Lia, my good friend and former boss, coordinated a perfect campaign. It primarily involved working with the affected communties, educating and organising them, so that they would be empowered to articulate their concerns and policy solutions to the government. Other stratgeies involved networking and coalition-building to gain broad support throughout the city, even from those who were not immediately affected. They set up an organic growers market as a means of linking poor rural producers to city-based consumers, and to showcase alternatives to pesticide use. The community, with support from the NGOs, regularly lobbied the local council and mayor, and engaged the bureaucracy to push for tighter regulation and environmental monitoring. The end result was Ordinance 0309-07 banning aerial spraying of pesticides. It was a triumph of democratic governance for the protection of people’s health and the environment 🙂
Unfortunately, the plantation companies did not accept this asked the Court of Appeals to invalidate the ordinance, which it did. Now, the communities have filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals. They are waiting for this the verdict; whatever the decision it will have a tremendous impact on their lives.
It’s rare to have these inspiring stories of “powerless” communities influencing government to actually work for them. So, please please do demonstrate support for their efforts by signing the online petition at www.dirtybananas.org.