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“Davao pesticide poisoning to expand and increase with JPEPA!”-KMP and APC

News Release

December 1, 2006

References: Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos, secretary general, KMP and APC

“Davao pesticide poisoning to expand and increase with JPEPA!”-KMP and APC

The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) lambasted the Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc. (Tadeco) in Mindano, Philippines for causing the pesticide poisoning of at least 79 people, mostly school children at that, from Tanglaw Elementary school in Braulio Dujali town in Davao del Norte.

According to Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos, secretary general of KMP and APC, “this is what we feared coming true because of the irresponsible handling of pesticides as well as toxic waste by corporations, institutions and even by the government itself. It is sad to say that this is just the beginning and such poisonings would increase and expand when the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) is ratified.”

“For starters the Philippines is Japan’s largest source of banana (58% of Japan’s total fruit imports), pineapple (7%), mango (1%), avocado (1%), and papaya (1%). This is equivalent to 79% of the total bananas exported by the Philippines; 98% of Philippine pineapples; 61% of Philippine mangoes; and, 48% of our papayas goes to Japan as of 2002. With the JPEPA, this will definitely increase and the use of harmful chemicals as well. The Macapagal-Arroyo regime has already targeted 2 million hectares to increase the landholdings controlled by foreign agro-corporations like DOLE Philippines which has 90,000 hectares, Tadeco with 55,000 hectares, Phil. Packing Corp. with 44,000 hectares and Del Monte with 20,000 hectares,” added Ramos.

“As of now there is already a Banana Expansion (BAEX) Project in Davao, which would definitely benefit Tadeco but not the people around and inside their plantations. Aside to causing further landlessness, the health and environmental hazard they pose will multiply, that is why KMP has formed the AMPINGAN alliance to stop this new attack on the people. Besides, Tadeco has no mechanism to ensure that the people in the vicinity of their plantations are safe from poisonings such as this. They have no information dissemination on its effects and how to prevent it, they also have their own hospital to hide the real effects of the pesticides to their workers,” said the peasant leader.

“If JPEPA is ratified it will open the flood gate of pesticide poisoning and toxic contamination to the general public. For now we are experiencing its horrendous effects of chemicals in village and town levels only but when JPEPA is approved it will affect major cities, provinces and even whole regions. Essentially we will become a toxic wasteland with the JPEPA,” ended Ramos.

The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) is an Asia-wide coalition of landless peasants, farmers, agricultural workers, dalits, indigenous peoples, fisherfolks, herders, pastoralists, women and youth across these sectors with more than 15 million members from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Mongolia and Philippines. The APC fights for genuine agrarian reform and supports the struggle of marginalised sectors particularly the small food producers. Its current secretariat is the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipias (KMP).