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17 Dec 2013

Aerial spraying ban lawsuit (re banana companies in Philippines)

The Department of Health found the aerial spraying of pesticides has negative health effects on local residents. Consequently, Davao City passed an ordinance banning aerial spraying. Several banana companies filed suit in response to the Ordinance, claiming unconstitutionality. Affected villagers intervened as defendants. In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the Davao City ordinance was unconstitutional. 


The Davao Region of the Philippines has a well-developed banana industry.  A 2006 study commissioned by the Department of Health found that aerial spraying of pesticides was having negative effects on the health of residents of Kamukhaan (Camocaan), Davao del Sur province, and it recommended the aerial spraying be banned.  In 2007, Davao City passed an ordinance banning aerial spraying of pesticides, and encouraged ground spraying instead.  Banana companies (Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), Davao Fruits and Lapanday Agricultural Development) questioned the legality of the ban in court, and filed a lawsuit against the City of Davao seeking to strike down the ordinance as unconstitutional.  The Regional Trial Court allowed villagers affected by the pesticide spraying to intervene in support of the City and its ordinance, and the villagers have since become a party to the case.

The Regional Trial Court found that the ordinance was constitutional, but this decision was reversed by the Court of Appeals in 2009, despite a filing by the Office of the Solicitor General stating that the ordinance is valid and constitutional.  Davao City and the villagers brought this decision to the Supreme Court for review.  The Court of Appeals has granted an injunction on the implementation of the subject ordinance, which means that banana companies are able to continue using the aerial spraying method while the Supreme Court reviews the case.

In August 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the Davao City ordinance banning aerial spraying of pesticides was unconstitutional.

- "SC voids ordinance vs aerial spraying", Vince F. Nonato, Inquirer (Philippines), 22 Aug 2016
- "Renewed calls to ban aerial spraying foil rehab efforts", Sun Star Davao [Philippines], 22 Feb 2013
- "Even with banana plantations devastated by Pablo, campaign against aerial spraying continues", Interface Development Interventions [Philippines], 12 Feb 2013
- "Philippines: Banana growers renew call for aerial spray legislation", Fresh Plaza [Netherlands], 17 Mar 2011
- "CHR urges GMA to shelve aerial chemical spraying", Jeffrey M. Tupas, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 31 Jan 2010
- "Bishop calls aerial spraying ‘inhuman’", CBCP News [Philippines] 31 Jul 2009
- "DA exec backs aerial pesticide spraying, Dennis Jay Santos", Philippines Daily Inquirer 01 Mar 2009
- "Appellate court declares aerial spraying ban illegal", GMA News, 14 Jan 2009
- "Environment – Philippines: Aerial Spraying Case – Profits Vs Public Health", IPS, 22 Dec 2008