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This website provides resources on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and wastes. Valuable examples of community monitoring of health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals are also furnished.

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Agro-chemical TNCs and plantations accountable for chemical disasters in the Philippines

Campaign for World No Pesticides Day kicks off

by Pesticide Action Network Philippines

Pesticide Action Network Philippines today joined the world in commemorating No Pesticides Day by and launched an internationally-coordinated campaign to hold agro-chemical companies and plantations accountable for chemical disasters in the Philippines.

The campaign kicked off in Mindanao, wherein villagers victimized by pesticide use in nearby banana plantations in Mindanao attended two forums hosted by local farmer organizations and Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), entitled “Pesticide Poisoning and Corporate Accountability: Remembering the Bhopal Tragedy*.”

Dr. Romeo Quijano, president of PAN Philippines and a professor in the University of the Philippines, talked on the adverse effects of pesticides on health and the environment. Dr. Quijano is currently battling in court a damage suit filed by Lapanday Agricultural Development Corporation owned by former Agriculture secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr., for an expose on the banana plantation’s harmful pesticide use affecting a nearby village in Digos, Davao del Sur called Kamukhaan. The Kamukhaan case has gained wide public support since it was first published in 2000, yet until now the villagers continue to fall sick, having no respite from the plantation’s pesticide use.

Hundreds of villagers who attended PAN AP’s forums in Digos and Nabunturan, Davao del Norte, related well to the yearly commemoration of the Bhopal tragedy, since they find it similar to their situation living near or working in banana plantations using highly toxic pesticides.

For example, paraquat, produced by Syngenta Corporation, is used or have been used by plantations such as AMS Farming Corporation, Davao Agricultural Ventures Corp, Del Monte Fresh Produce Phils., Dole Philippines Inc, FS Dizon & Sons Inc., Kenram (Phils.), Inc., Lapanday Foods Corporation, Marsman-Drysdale Agribusiness Group, Oribanex Trading Corp, Stanfilco,Tadeco, Tri Star Group of Companies and Tropifresh, most of which are found in Mindanao.

Paraquat is part of the “Dirty Dozen” list of pesticides that have been proven to cause severe health and environmental damage. It is already banned in Malaysia and other European countries. Unfortunately, the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority revoked a previous order restricting its use due to intense lobbying by Syngenta. Right now, there is an international effort led by environmental NGOs such as PAN, Berne Declaration, and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation to stop its production, importation, and use, particularly in Third World countries like the Philippines.

“Agro-chemical transnationals and big plantations must be made accountable for the country’s worst chemical disasters in far-flung areas such as Kamukhaan. At the same time, the government must resist the influence of these corporations in order to stop the terrible waste of human life and the environment caused by pesticides,” said Dr. Quijano.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Manila, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Bicol, Cordillera, and Cagayan Valley, the RESIST alliance (Resistance and Solidarity Against Agrochemical TNCs) will be holding a series of forums and photo-exhibit entitled “The Politics of Pesticides: Changing the World’s Agriculture and People’s Resistance” starting December 8 to commemorate No Pesticides Day. Such awareness-raising efforts among students and farmers will focus on the historical background of the pesticides; health, environment and socio-economic effects brought about by pesticides; and the people’s resistance and alternatives to pesticides.

The NGO Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-Unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) will also hold a forum in North Cotabato on December 6-7 about genetically-modified organisms. The forum will focus on how GMO crops actually increase pesticide use. Producers of GMOs, such as Monsanto, are the same agro-chemical transnationals who introduced pesticides in agriculture.

December 3, dubbed as World No Pesticides Day, is the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal tragedy in India wherein the chemical spill of the pesticides company Union Carbide (now Dow Chemicals) in 1984 caused the instant death of 8,000 people and injured more than 500,000.

The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal reports that today, more than 150,000 people are still reeling from the health effects of the world’s worst chemical disaster two decades ago. These include children born to parents who survived the disaster, who are suffering from cancer, neurological damage, nausea, breathlessness, numb limbs, headaches, body aches, fevers, anxiety attacks, chaotic menstrual cycles, depression and mental illness.

This year, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, has also called this year’s two-decade commemoration as the International Day of Action Against Corporate Crime, in order to pressure Dow Chemicals to face criminal charges filed against them in the Bhopal District Court.

©heal toxics, 2003
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Agro-chemical TNCs and plantations accountable for chemical disasters in the Philippines

PAN AP commemorates 20th anniversary of Bhopal

Paraquat, poison in Filipino food and environment

No Pesticides Use Day in India

BC says Bhopal interview "elaborate deception"