MASSIVE UNEMPLOYMENT FEARED
Local government officials of Davao del Norte are rallying behind the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (TADECO) citing the banana company’s contribution to the economic development of the province.
TADECO, the largest banana producer and exporter in the country based in the province, is being hounded by House Speaker Napoleon Alvarez with cancellation of a land deal the company entered into with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
Alvarez has instigated the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between TADECO and BuCor covering more than 5,000 hectares of the Davao Penal Colony. He has also raised the issue to the Department of Justice.
In an apparent displeasure at Alvarez, local executives of Davao del Norte at the barangay and municipal levels have expressed their personal and official position against Alvarez and his attempt to have the House declare the JVA as illegal, and their support to the TADECO-BuCor deal.
TADECO is one of the biggest taxpayer and employer in the province and is credited for its contribution to its economic development.
Mayor Virginia Perandos of the municipality of Carmen pointed out that “TADECO has been playing a major role in the development of the entire province of Davao del Norte in general, and brought quality standard of living for the people with its employment opportunities, including many of the BuCor inmates.”
As part of a penal rehabilitation program for prisoners, TADECO hires inmates paid with minimu wage as workers in the area of the JVA that the company developed into a banana plantation.
Mayor Perandos’ support for TADECO was officially translated by members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Carmen on May 23 with approval of a resolution of support to the TADECO-BuCor JVA.
The resolution said that the “presence of banana companies including Tadeco boosted the economic activity not only of the Municipality of Carmen but throughout the Davao Region.”
The resolution also noted that TADECO and the other banana-producing farms in Davao helped transform Carmen into a first-class municipality in the province.
Massive unemployment in case Alvarez succeeds in having the JVA cancelled is the primary reason for the support for TADECO of the Sangguniang Bayan of Sto. Tomas.
In a resolution adopted on May 22, the local legislative body said that it is backing the BuCor-Tadeco accord “so as not to displace the thousand of workers and its contribution to the economic development of the communities and country.”
Its resolution likewise stated that Tadeco “contributed to the development of the economy in Mindanao through its huge plantation of Cavendish banana that provided employment to thousands of workers, more particularly from the Municipality of Sto. Tomas and other adjacent municipalities and cities within the Province of Davao del Norte.”
Associations of barangays are not to be left out and have also passed resolutions supporting TADECO and expressing dismay at Alvarez’s move.
The Liga ng Mga Barangay of Sto. Tomas, unanimously adopted a resolution last May 18 expressing support for the JVA, which it said, “helped to rehabilitate the inmates inside the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF) and prepare them for their eventual reintegration to society by providing them with a decent means of livelihood while serving their sentences to become a productive citizen in the community.
The Liga ng Mga Barangay of the Island Garden City of Samal noted in its May 10 resolution that the JVA provides employment to hundreds of workers in all of the 46 barangays within the city.
“Tadeco, Inc. extends various services to the community in terms of providing health- and education-related programs that values health and wellness of its employees and their families and grants full scholarship to qualified dependents to strengthen its corporate social responsibility through its programs and activities that being implemented to its nearby communities within the Province of Davao del Norte,” the resolution read.