Humihingi si Santo Tomas Mayor Ernesto Evangelista ng isang komprehensibong report mula sa kay Agapito Ejalas, Punong Barangay ng Pantaron sa kung ano ang mga naging nagawang hakbang nito para resolbahin ang kaso ng mga banana plantation workers sa nasabing barangay.
Sinabi ni Municipal Administrator Atty. Elisa Evangelista-Lapina na gustong isabatas ni Mayor Evangelista ang regulasyon para sa operasyon ng saging sa bayan ng Santo Tomas ay dahil may mga iregulasyong nangyayari at pang-aabuso na pabor sa mga lokal at dayuhang kapitalista na hindi naman residente ng Santo Tomas.
Paliwanag ni Lapina, sa pamamagitan ng pagpasa ng ordinansa maproprotekhan ang mga Tomasinong banana growers laban sa price manipulation na pinapairal ng mga consolidators at higit sa lahat mabigyan ng proteksyon ang mga manggagawa sa mga nasabing plantasyon sa saging.
“Kung seryoso at handang pagsilbihan ng Sangguniang Bayan ang ating mga manggagawa sa plantasyon sa saging hindi magiging mahirap ang pagpasa ng local ordinance para sa mga Tomasinong small banana growers at banana plantation workers,” sinabi ni Lapina.
COTABATO CITY – Model banana farms are soon to sprout in about 5,000 hectares in a special geographic area (SGA) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in North Cotabato province.
Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) – BARMM Member of Parliament Suharto Ambolodto said Tuesday the project aimed to alleviate the lives of farmers and to encourage more local businessmen to pour in capital.
“This activity is mainly to look upon the opportunities of local entrepreneurs to invest here since they would be investing for the future of our Bangsamoro people,” he said.
The SGA comprises the 63 villages in six towns of North Cotabato that opted to join the BARMM during the two-part plebiscite held in January and February 2019.
Ambolodto said the signing of a memorandum of agreement with local investors further bolstered the endeavor with the initial set up of a banana plantation in a combined 5,000 hectares of farmlands in villages under the SGA in Kabacan.
Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) – BARMM Chairman Ishak Mastura said his office would facilitate the farmers’ link to the investors in terms of profit sharing and other concerns.
“We also need to link the farmers to local investors, not only in the government programs or services but also to private sectors that would give them direct assistance to start-up investments immediately in our region,” he said.
In a separate statement, RBOI Board of Governor Mohammad Pasigan said their office has been reaching out to farmers and local investors to expose them to investment opportunities in the region.
“The RBOI has even helped them connect to the tie-up ‘Harvest Program’ of Japan International Cooperation Agency and Land Bank of the Philippines that could fund both farmers and local investors on livelihood assistance through very reasonable forms of loan,” he said.
Local investors who signed the MOA were Engr. Kaiser Usman of Usman Banana Plantation in Matanog, Maguindanao and Datu Jabib Guiabar of Kabacan.
To drumbeat the initiative, both businessmen encouraged other local investors to do business in the region and help uplift BARMM’s economy.
“We are expecting to plant Cardava banana in the SGA to a farmland area of some 5,000 hectares,” Guiabar said. (PNA)
COTABATO CITY — The Regional Board of Investments of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-BARMM) has approved the registration of Al Muzafar Agriventure Inc. (AMAVI) that would pour in PHP950 million worth of investments in the region’s banana industry.The firm, also… Read More
MANILA – The Pilipino Banana Growers and Entrepreneurs Association (PBGEA) is calling for fewer government fees and more supportive ordinances to pump up the troubled industry.PBGEA executive director Stephen Antig told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview on Thursday that it would… Read More
Banana industry players in Mindanao said Philippine banana export to Japan is hampered by failure of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol to help resolve a major issue with the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW).
Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) executive director Stephen Antig said the group asked Pinol to have the Philippine government sit down in talks with the Japan MHLW to resolve protocol issues surrounding the banana export industry.
Antig underscored the importance of the protocol issue, adding that this can only be done through government-to-government action.
Antig said PBGEA cannot intervene on the problem because the MHLW “will not entertain any meetings with PBGEA until the Philippine government, particularly the Department of Agriculture (DA), shows concrete steps to address the Fipronil exceedance of the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) problem.
Antig said the protocol issue was raised in August 2018 on Fipronil exceedance of the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) after Japan required 100 percent mandatory testing of Philippine bananas entering the country.
“The 100 percent mandatory testing delays the release of the bananas to the market,” he said.
He said the issue remains unresolved despite the corresponding actions by concerned exporting companies when MHLW of Japan required the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and Plant Quarantine Services (PQS), to submit the protocol for the export of fresh banana to Japan.
Antig said PBGEA wrote a letter to DA Secretary Emmanuel Pinol on March 20 about Japan’s feedback that the interventions implemented by the BPI are not enough or not the ones required by Japan’s MHLW.
He said that while they offered to facilitate a study tour, including meeting with the MHLW, the latter “will not entertain any meetings with PBGEA until the Philippine government, particularly the DA, shows concrete steps to address the MRL problem”.
Antig said the inaction of concerned government agency kept them in limbo, “as this problem has been there for the past eight months”.
“Given this, the economic impact of the Philippine banana export industry will be a financial nightmare if the processing of imports will not be attended to and the fruits are left at the wharf or the warehouses for the duration of the Golden Week celebration,” he added. (with PNA report)
The Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco), based in Davao del Norte, is the Philippines’ biggest producer and exporter of fresh Cavendish bananas. The giant banana company, founded in the 60s by the late Don Antonio Floirendo Sr., made Davao del Norte the banana capital of the country and placed the Philippines in the world map of major Cavendish banana producers alongside the old banana producing countries of Latin America.
Today, Don Floirendo’s trailblazing foray into banana growing has been replicated by many other companies elsewhere in Mindanao to become the Philippine southern island’s major dollar earning industry. Since its founding in the 60s, Tadeco played key role in the growth of the once infant industry that has triggered a wide range of diverse industries that spun off from the pioneering effort of Don Floirendo. The biggest beneficiary of Tadeco’s banana business is its home base Davao del Norte, where it contributes substantial taxes to the local government. Large, medium and small businesses also sprung up to respond to the service and supply needs of the company and its thousands of employees. Today, Tadeco is one of the biggest taxpayers and employers in the province. Davao del Norte’s development from an outback province in the Davao Region to Southern Mindanao’s fastest growing province today can be credited in part to Tadeco, with both the public and private sector acknowledging its contribution to the economic development of the province. It is for this reason that the business sector, the labor sector and the general public including Davao del Norte’s municipal and provincial officials rose up as one to protest an attempt by an economic saboteur named Panty to derail Tadeco’s continuing efforts to contribute to the economic development of the province and its people. Panty reaped a whirlwind of criticisms from the various sectors and the municipalities and cities which passed resolutions to defend Tadeco against Panty’s questioning of the legality of the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) entered into decades ago by Tadeco and the Bureau of Corrections covering about 5,000 hectares of reservation area of the Davao Penal Colony. The once barren Dapecol area had been developed by Tadeco into a productive banana plantation that employs thousands including inmates of Dapecol who are under a penal rehabilitation program that prepares them for life outside of prison walls when they complete their sentence. The JVA that provides a share to government from the produce, was approved by Congress and the Office of the President. The JVA is a major component of the Tadeco banana growing operation. For questioning the legality of the JVA, a tsunami of hate and scorn has fallen on Panty, who is accused of being an economic saboteur of the economic development of the province and its people. Panty is running for an elective post in the May 13 election in Davao del Norte.
A banana firm executive called on the government to help ailing industries in securing exemptions from wage increase implementations, and come up with mechanism that will cushion the impact of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) on the banana sector.
In a press statement on Thursday, Stephen Antig, the Executive Director of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), warned that the proposed salary adjustment of PHP56.43 to the current wage levels will adversely affect the banana industry.
Antig described the proposed wage hike as unreasonable, saying the move is not well thought of “considering that the banana industry itself has also been affected by TRAIN.”
“The consultation done by the regional wage board with industry sectors was not thorough, thereby recommending another round of discussion to arrive at a reasonable compromise after all the industry figures have been appreciated,” Antig maintained.
He said the banana industry has been experiencing market and production problems, citing the adverse effects of the United States’ sanction against Iran–a key Philippine banana markets.
“There is wisdom in finding a middle ground to help laborers as industrial partners in earning an added income but finds the haste in implementing a new round of wage increase as untenable and inconsistent with the policy of creating permanent jobs”.
Based on data from the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA), Antig said the Cavendish banana industry employs the highest number of workers in the agricultural sector.
He said any effort “to burden further an industry that has been paying heavy taxes to the government, sooner or later, can result in dislocation, unemployment, and retrenchment of workers who are dependent on the banana sector for jobs and livelihood.”
“There should be timing in instituting the proposed new round of wage increase,” he added. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)