Sunday, January 28, 2007

Celebrating Victory Against the Banana Plantations

After my morning mass, I biked to Wangan (a community up in the hills of Calinan, 35 km from Davao) to attend a victory/thanksgiving celebration of poor farmers who had been waging a campaign against aerial spraying in banana plantations. The participants of the celebration came from the neighboring barangays, the supporters and the NGO working with them (IDIS). Throughout the past nine months I have been supporting this campaign by joining in the Interfaith Prayer Rally in front of City Hall last June and the Vigil held in September. I have also gathered signatures from our own community, the parishioners and the members of the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) in support of the Ban the Aerial Spraying.

Last week, the City Council finally passed the ordinance banning the Aerial Spraying in the whole of Davao, inspite of the lobbying made by banana plantation owners.

I am just amazed how poor people with the support of civil society and religious leaders were able to convince the city council to pass this ordinance. During the celebration, the people thanked God for the divine guidance and support.

This reminds of the anti-logging campaign in San Fernando Bukidnon 20 years ago carried out by poor people belonging to BECs which we supported. As a result of the people's non-violent struggle, a total log ban was imposed on the whole province.

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