Only President Rodrigo Duterte can order the cancellation of the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) covering sharing agreement over the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) reservation area in Davao del Norte.
This legal position taken by Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has inspired local government units (LGUs) of Davao del Norte to raise the issue to Malacanang with an appeal for President Duterte to dump attempts by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to have the JVA cancelled.
Alvarez claims that the Tadeco-BuCor deal is anomalous and disadvantageous to the government. The Speaker has requested the DoJ to declare the JVA as illegal and has initiated an inquiry to look into the deal at the House of Representatives.
According to Aguirre, declaring the JVA as illegal is not within the powers of the DoJ.
Only President Rodrigo Duterte can make such a declaration, said Aguirre at the joint committee hearing on May 9 of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability and the Committee on Justice.
With the cancellation or not of the Tadeco-BuCor JVA resting solely in the hands of the President, Davao del Norte LGUs plan to appeal to President Duterte to spurn Alvarez’s attempts to cancel the contract.
Citing its job generation and positive economic impact on the province and its people, Davao del Norte LGUs have passed resolutions in support of the JVA involving over 5,000 hectares of the Dapecol reservation area that Tadeco developed into a banana plantation under a sharing agreement with BuCor and as a rehabilitation project for Dapecol inmates.
“We will compile the resolutions of the LGUs in a petition to President Rodrigo Duterte as an expression of the collective sentiments of the people of Davao del Norte in support of the Tadeco-BuCor deal and against attempts by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to have the JVA cancelled,” said a source, who asked anonymity, privy to the move to bring up the Tadeco-BuCor JVA to President Duterte.
Likewise, the municipal councils in the Second District also passed similar resolutions.
In the First District, congressional district of Alvarez, the municipalities of Asuncion, Kapalong, Talaingod and New Corella, and the City Council of Tagum City, are preparing their own resolutions also in support of the Tadeco-BuCor deal.
The House has already conducted two hearings on the Tadeco-BuCor deal.
Tadeco, one of the country’s biggest banana producer and exporter owned by the family of Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr., insists the deal was legal and reviewed and approved by Congress.