Municipality under Alvarez’s district joins growing list vs. Speaker
The provincial legislature of Davao del Norte, along with a first-class municipality under the congressional district of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, have joined the growing list of local government units (LGUs) that have thrown their support behind the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc.(TADECO).
The LGUs were one in acknowledging the valuable contributions of the BuCor-TADECO deal in invigorating the economies of, creating jobs in, and providing social services to, in their respective communities along with fulfilling the agreement’s primary goal of rehabilitating inmates at the Davao Penal Colony.
They issued their statements of support following the move by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who represents Davao del Norte’s first district, to initiate a congressional inquiry into the Bucor-TADECO agreement and declare the deal null and void for supposedly being disadvantageous to the government.
At least two hearings have already been conducted by the House committee on good government and public accountability on the issue during the first regular session of the Congress.
But the town of Asuncion, a first-class municipality under Alvarez’s district, have opted to back the BuCor-TADECO deal.
Resolution 2017-148 adopted by its Sangguniang Bayan last July 11 said that it was “earnestly supporting” the agreement because the deal not only contributes to Davao’s economy but also generates “employment to thousands of workers, more particularly in the neighboring localities including Asuncion.”
The Sangguniang Bayan of Asuncion also pointed out that besides providing jobs to inmates, TADECO’s banana operations also created some 30,000 jobs and “secured the livelhood and future of at least 181,000 residents.”
It said the significance of TADECO’s operations to the lives of Davaoenos was the reason Davao del Norte Governor Antonio Rafael del Rosario has enjoined all LGUs in the province to support the BuCor-TADECO agreement.
Meanwhile, a separate resolution sponsored by the majority of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Davao Del Norte, and unanimously adopted on June 19, stated the provincial legislature’s support for the JVA and cited the relevance of TADECO “to the lives of the 181,000 residents of the province” who are dependent on the company’s business operations.
The resolution was issued with the support of Del Rosario and was adopted with Vice Governor Alan Dujali presiding over the Sanggunian proceedings.
“The JVA rehabilitation program brought pride to the Province of Davao del Norte because its success is well known in the entire Philippine Penal System and as a matter of fact, BuCor wanted it replicated in its Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan,” Resolution 364 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan read.
The resolution likewise stated that in 2016 alone, TADECO paid BuCor a total of 142,719,662.00 which equates to P26,900 per hectare and the former also paid approximately P438,000,000.00 in taxes and fees to the Philippine government.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan, which decided to adopt a resolution of support for the BuCor-TADECO deal after receiving the position papers of both Tadeco and the Office of the Speaker, also called on the LGUs in District I “to give their support to the JVA due to its social and economic benefit to the entire Province for so many years.”
All the LGUs in the second district comprising Panabo City and the municipalities of Braulio E. Dujali, Carmen, the Island Garden City of Samal and Sto. Tomas have already issued their separate resolutions of support for the BuCor-TADECO JVA.
Last May 29, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Panabo adopted a resolution “earnestly supporting the joint venture agreement” between TADECO and BuCor, which it said has a “vast contribution to the economy of the neighboring cities and municipalities within the Davao Region.”
In its resolution, the Sangguniang Panlungsod said the TADECO-BuCor agreement “had [been] reviewed and approved by no less than Six (6) Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretaries, namely, Juan Ponce Enrile (1968-1970), Vicente Abad Santos (1970-1979), Ricardo C. Puno (1979), Catalino Macaraig Jr. (1979-1981), Sedfrey Ordonez (1987-1990), Simeon Datumanong (2003), and Raul Gonzales (w004-2007).”
“It has also passed through fourteen (14) Secretaries of Justice who upheld its validity,” the Sanggunian also said in its resolution.
The Sangguniang Bayan of Sto. Tomas said in a separate resolution adopted on May 22 that it is backing the BuCor-Tadeco accord “so as not to displace the thousand workers and its contribution to the economic development of the communities and country.”
The town of Tibal-Og in Sto.Tomas, through its Sangguniang Barangay also released a resolution last May 23 backing the JVA, which stated that the presence of Tadeco “tremendously boosted the fast economic development activities benefiting the entire province of Davao del Norte.”
The Liga ng Mga Barangay of Sto. Tomas, meanwhile, unanimously adopted a resolution last May 18 supporting 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.”
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.”
A resolution unanimously adopted by the Sangguniang Bayan of Carmen on May 23 expressed its support to the JVA, and said the “presence of banana companies including Tadeco boost the economic activity not only of the Municipality of Carmen, but throughout the Davao Region.”
The Liga ng mga Barangay of Carmen has also adopted a separate resolution backing the BuCor-Tadeco JVA. “Fifty percent of our labor force are working [in companies like TADECO, Dole Philippines and other agro-industrial establishments in the locality and other neighboring cities and municipalities,” the Liga said in its resolution.
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan of Braulio E. Dujali pointed out in its Resolution dated May 15 that besides creating jobs, providing revenues for the municipality, and constructing roads and other infrastructure, TADECO has also regularly conducted medical outreach programs for the town’s “poor communities through the Antonio O. Floirendo Foundation” and helped the town realize “its electrification program which benefited a good number of households and even those located in the outskirts of this town.”
The resolution stated that Tadeco contributes more than half of the municipality’s total annual income.
The Braulio E. Dujali chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay have also come out in support of the JVA, stating in its unanimously adopted resolution that “Tadeco is one of the highest-yielding banana plantations in the world that provides employment to thousands of workers.”
The Sangguniang Panlungsod of the Island Garden City of Samal stated in its resolution that many of the inmates who benefited from the JVA came from the city.
Its Liga ng Mga Barangay noted in its May 10 resolution that the JVA provides employment to hundreds of workers in all of the 46 barangays within the city.