VILLAGE CHIEF SAYS POLITICS BEHIND TADECO ‘ROAD CLOSURE’ ISSUE
Fingers Alvarez for instigating clamor vs banana company
A Davao del Norte barangay captain said politics Is behind the issue involving alleged closure of a public road by banana grower Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco).
Don Magallanes, village chief of Barangay Balagonan in Sto. Tomas town points a finger at House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for instigating a move to “re-open” a farm road in his barangay that the Speaker claimed as closed by Tadeco to the public.
Tadeco said the farm road is not public and within the reservation area of the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) covered by a Joint Venture Agreement between the company and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
Tadeco also said the farm road was not closed but was equipped with tire dips and foot baths, which are bio-security facilities required by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to be installed in banana plantations to prevent entry of the deadly banana pest Panama Disease (Fusarium Wilt).
Accordingly, a group of petitioners are inconvenienced by the tire dips and foot baths and wanted them removed.
Alvarez rode on the sentiment and egged a group of petitioners led by banana grower Jesus Boton to demand that the farm roads be “re-opened.”
Magallanes said the clamor to “re-open” the Balagonan farm road surfaced as Alvarez initiated a House inquiry into the Tadeco-BuCor JVA that he said was “illegal and disadvantageous to the government.”
Tadeco said the JVA was legal and approved by Congress.
Indicating his strong interest, Alvarez brought petitioners against the Tadeco farm road during a hearing on the Tadeco-BuCor JVA by the House Committees on Justice and the Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability.
Early this month, Edwin Jubahid, chief of staff of Alvarez, and DPWH Davao del Norte district engineer Noel Basanes, led a team to conduct an inventory of public roads in the barangays around the Tadeco farm, as ordered by the House committees looking into Alvarez’s complaint against the Tadeco-BuCor deal.
Going above its mission to inventory the roads, the team of Jubahid and Basanez destroyed the metal swing gate at the bio-security facility in the Balagonan road entrance to Tadeco.
Tadeco has filed charges against Alvarez’s chief of staff and the district engineer before the Ombudsman.
The Tadeco farm roads have become a political issue between Alvarez (1st District) and his former friend and political ally 2nd District Congressman Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo. Alvarez broke up with Floirendo, also his political funder in past elections, following a public quarrel between their girlfriends.
Following the split, Alvarez sought an inquiry into the Tadeco-BuCor deal and filed a graft case against Floirendo, whose family owns Tadeco.
Alvarez’s assault against Tadeco, a prime mover in the province’s economy, cultivated a wide range of criticism against the Speaker, including those coming from the provincial government and its municipalities which passed resolutions in support of the Tadeco-BuCor deal.
The reelection bid in the 2019 election of Alvarez, secretary general of the ruling PDP/Laban, has also been placed in peril.
He has made an enemy of presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte after calling a regional party that the mayor formed with Davao Region governors, as an “opposition” party.
Mayor Duterte has vowed to campaign against Alvarez’s reelection.