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PAN Leader Targeted in the Philippines
(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2003) Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) reported last week that the Philippine Supreme Court recently re-instated a plantation owner's libel suit against Dr. Romeo Quijano, an important international public health advocate and leader of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Philippines, and five journalists for documenting and publicizing the situation of a village poisoned by pesticides. PAN Regional Coordinators and Dr. Quijano's many colleagues around the world ask you to send a letter to Philippine officials demanding an end to this harassment.

In 1997 Dr. Quijano and his daughter, Llang-Llang published an article, "Poisoned Lives" in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Post newspapers, reporting on illness in the village of Kamukhaan, Mindanao which was poisoned by persistent aerial and ground spraying on a nearby banana plantation owned by the Lapanday Agricultural Company (LADECO). The Quijanos reported widespread health problems consistent with pesticide poisoning and even several deaths attributable to the pesticides used on the plantation in the 1980s. They and several journalists were sued for libel by LADECO shortly after the article appeared, and sued a second time after the first case was denied in 2001. It is the second libel suit that has just been re-instated by the Philippine courts and that now threatens Dr. Quijano and others.

Dr. Quijano and these journalists performed an important public service for the community of Kamukhaan and other rural villages where frequent and heavy applications of pesticides deeply affect human and environmental health. They must not be silenced or punished for documenting or for exercising their rights and duty to speak out against serious environmental health damage.

PANNA asks that people contact the Philippine officials listed below and let them know you support the work of Dr. Quijano and others to documenting the health risks of pesticide use in Kamukhaan:

Within the U.S. first dial the international access code 011:
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Fax: (632) 736-1010
Luis P. Lorenzo Jr., Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Fax: (632) 929-8183
Elisea Gozon, Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Fax: (632) 920-4301
Manuel Dayrit, Secretary, Department of Health, Fax: (632) 743-1829
Rep. Carlos Padilla, House Minority Floor Leader, Fax: (632) 931-5691
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, Senate Minority Floor Leader, Fax: (632) 552-6713

The full text of this action alert and further information is available on the PANNA website.