NEWS: City Council wary over rice-banana conversion by Dole-Philippines

july 30

The Tagum City Council is currently investigating a possible unauthorized conversion of ricelands at the city’s outskirts to cavendish banana production involving the giant multinational banana firm Dole-Philippines.

The City Council last Monday invited representatives of Dole-Philippines on its next session to shed light on the land development taking place at a 2.2-hectare riceland at Barangay Pagsabangan which is reportedly being converted to banana plantation despite the standing two-year national suspension in the approval of riceland conversion to other uses.

During the Question Hour on last Monday’s session of the City Council, representatives of farmers’ cooperative Panibanco aired their apprehension over the land development such as the construction of a drainage chopping off a ricefield which they said could threaten the P12-million waterworks system earlier funded on loan under the World Bank assisted-Agrarian Reform Communities Development project (ARCDP) for the Pagsabangan Agrarian Reform Community (ARC).

The City Council moved to invite also representatives of other government agencies involved in land conversion process such as the Department of Agrarian Reform and concerned parties after several councilors differed on their opinions on land conversions and sought for the certainty of the implementation of President Arroyo’s Administrative Order 226-A which suspended for two years the processing and approval of all land conversion applications of rice lands in view of the rice crisis.

Councilor Reynaldo Salve, a lawyer, contended that there is yet no specific law prohibiting the conversion of agricultural crops apparently referring to the shift of production from rice to banana as to the case Pagsabangan.

Councilor Francisco Remitar on the other hand said be believed there are guidelines pertinent to Pagsabangan case.

The initial probe on the Pagsabagan land conversion case has led to other query on the city’s liability on the P12-million World Bank loan for the Pagsabangan waterworks system which was said had been secured on condition of joint liability with the barangay and the city government.

Councilor Robert “Tete” So wanted to know the extent of liability of the city government in case of a project failure as he expressed wariness saying that the city might wake up one day indebted to the World Bank.

Councilor Marlene Baura then moved for the City Planning and Development Office to make its assessment report to clarify on the waterworks project at Pagsabangan to the City Council. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

One Response to “NEWS: City Council wary over rice-banana conversion by Dole-Philippines”

  1. MirasolGreer Says:

    We own a rice field in the Barrio of Kambanogoy mesaoy. Our neighbors recently converted to bananas on both sides of us. A company also offered us money to convert but we declined. Our rice field received irrigation water before they converted their field. Now our rice field is dry. They have ruined our rice field. They did not receive government permission to convert.

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