Banana public urged to report abusive aerial spraying

mar 28, 2014

Residents living near banana plantations are urged to report and complain if they observe that pilots of light aircrafts are already abusing in doing aerial spray of pesticides to bananas.

Civil Aviation Authority of Philippines official Edgardo Salcepuedes said that if the aircraft is already “flying too low” affected residents should take note of the registry number in the tail and other visible description of it, and lodge a complaint to CAAP.

He said that flying less than 20 feet from the top of banana plants is a violation to the rule.

Salcepuedes also urged concerned to make complaint like to the case aired by Davao del Norte Liga ng mga Barangay president Edgar Castillo who said that pilots included a school during school days in their aerial spraying in the past.

Asuncion barangay captain Castillo said that they tried to call the attention of the pilots and invited them to appear in the barangay hall to shed light on the incident but “they did not attend even once.”

He said that there are cases that pilots were observed to be somehow abusing.

The airworthiness of small, light spray aircraft was inquired on Monday by the Davao del Norte provincial board following recent crash of an spray plane that fell in the populous Barangay Visayan Village in Tagum City.

The plane missed houses when it crash-landed in vacant area last March 7. The pilot only sustained minor injury.

Crash-landing of spray planes has been common in the recent years in banana-producing provinces.

Salcepuedes said that CAAP makes regular inspection and monitoring on the airworthiness besides the rigid evaluation done every year for the renewal of the certification of airworthiness to the aircraft.

He said that there are 29 active spray planes and pilots of the same number operating throughout Mindanao.
“Age of the aircraft is not the issue. Some planes are three years old, some are 25 years old. What is important is how the engine is maintained,” he said.

In Davao del Norte, the country’s top banana exporter, has 8 private aircraft operators that are tapped by banana firms and growers having no spray planes, while a few big banana companies have their own spray planes, said Board Member Alan Dujali, who learned of the information in his engagements with small banana growers. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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