Residents of Sitio Camocaan in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur filed a complaint of “unprofessional, unethical and dishonorable conduct” against a University of the Philippines-Manila professor over a questionable study that resulted to the ban aerial spray in their area.
In a judicial affidavit filed before the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in Region XI, six residents of Camocaan accused Dr. Romeo Quijano of falsification and perjury, saying the UP professor wrote and published a story that were based on lies.
One of the complainants, Victoria Garrote, a health worker in Camocaan, testified that sometime in the year 1997, Quijano visited their community and interviewed some residents.
“He introduced himself as a doctor. He asked people about their illnesses, if they have any. And he frequently visited us after that,” she said in her affidavit.
Garrote said then they learned later that Quijano and his daughter Ilang-ilang has written and published an article about Camocaan in the March 8, 2000 issue of the Philippine Post Mindanao.
The article titled, “Poisoned Lives” narrates how some of her fellow residents in Camocaan got sick from exposure to aerial spraying.
It eventually led to Davao City’s ordinance banning aerial spraying.
As a health worker, Garrote said that she was very surprised and disappointed, “because what I read and learned in the story were lies.”
The story narrated that residents of Camocaan and their land, for the past 19 years, have been facing a slow but certain death because of heavy exposure to pesticides. Also, according to the story, infants are often born sick and with abnormalities, ranging from cleft lip and palate to badly disfigured bodies. Many children are also born with severe skin abnormalities and babies die at birth or shortly thereafter. One Rebecca Dolka bore a lifeless child whose body and eyes were yellow.
As a health worker in Camocaan since 1979, Garrote assisted in child deliveries in the sitio.
She said, “the residents of Camocaan are not disease stricken and the place is not a waste land. The people continue to thrive and animals and plants can live and grow. It is not true that the people are dying due to pesticides from Lapanday. There is in fact no resident in the name of Rebecca Dolka in Camocaan. There is, however, a Rebecca Dulla, whom I think is the one referred to in the article. It is not true that she bore a lifeless child. There is no resident in Camoccan with the name Rebecca other than Rebecca Dulla.”
Garotte said they filed the complaint against Quijano so he should be held accountable for his lies against the people and against Camocaan.
“Being a doctor by profession he should be honest in his dealings with the people, his patients and the community, especially on matters concerning health,” she said.