by Resistance and Solidarity Against Agrochemical
The RESIST (Resistance and Solidarity Against Agrochemicals
TNCs) announces and congratulates a Philippine scientist among
its ranks who recently bagged a prestigious international award
for his courageous research on pesticide poisoning by a banana
plantation in Mindanao.
Toxicologist Dr. Romeo Quijano, president of PAN Philippines
(Pesticide Action Network), a professor in the University of the
Philippines and RESIST Convenor, is one of the five recipients
of the 2005 Jenifer Altman Awards of the Upstream Fund that will
commence on August 2005.
The Jenifer Altman Awards this year honors the pursuit of science
in the public interest, and highlight five scientists who have
held true to their belief in the scientific process, and the public’s
right to full information.
“In some cases, the publication of their research brought
these scientists international attention, not only for the importance
of their research, but also for the firestorm that followed. Questioning
and debate is a critical part of the scientific process. But each
of these scientists faced more than a healthy debate among colleagues.
As they remained committed to bringing the best available science
to the public, private interests threatened their research, reputations,
and livelihoods. We honor these scientists for holding fast to
their belief in scientific freedom and dissent, even as these
principles, and they themselves, are under fierce attack,”
said Marni Rosen, Executive Director of the Jenifer Altman Foundation.
Dr. Quijano, who is also a consultant of the Department of Health
in the Philippines and Southern Co-Chair of the International
POPs Elimination Network, has dedicated his life to improving
the life of the rural poor by teaching communities about the dangers
of agrochemical pesticides used widely and irresponsibly in the
In a 1997 study conducted by Quijano at the request of farmers
in Kamukhaan, Digos, Davao del Sur, he found that the pesticides
used on the neighboring banana plantation (LADECO) were adversely
affecting the human and ecological health of that community.
LADECO is owned by the influential family of Cito Lorenzo, former
secretary of the Department of Agriculture and adviser of President
Publication and wide dissemination of his findings resulted in
both a libel and civil suit. In 2003, the libel case was dismissed
but the civil case against against Dr. Quijano and his daughter
remains. Lately, he has faced death threats as a result of his
continuous defense of the health of Kamukhaan villagers in the
midst of LADECO management’s moves to silence dissent within
Other recipients of the Jenifer Altman Award include Tyrone Hayes,
PhD and Ignacio Chapela, PhD from the University of California,
Berkeley; Frederick vom Saal, PhD from the University of Missouri,
Columbia; and Shanna Swan, PhD from the University of Rochester.
Recipients of the award will receive USD $5,000 each.
RESIST, an alliance of 52 NGOs and peasant organizations in the
Philippines, says that it is about time that activist-scientists
like Dr. Quijano are given due recognition for work that is usually
thankless in the mainstream scientific community.
Dr. Quijano is currently working on an alternative livelihood
project for Kamukhaan villagers who continue to suffer under unabated
pesticide spraying by LADECO.
Note to Editor:
THE JENIFER ALTMAN FOUNDATION is a private foundation dedicated
to the vision of a socially just and ecologically sustainable
future through program interests in environmental health and mind-body
health. Jenifer Altman was a Senior Research Associate at Commonweal,
a health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, California.
She established the Jenifer Altman Foundation shortly before her
death in 1991.
The Jenifer Altman Foundation (JAF) manages the Barbara Smith
Fund and the Environmental Health Programs of the Mitchell Kapor
Foundation (MKF) and the StarFire Fund (SFF).
Marni Rosen, Executive Director
Jenifer Altman Foundation
P.O. Box 29209, San Francisco, CA 94129