Under threat

Exporters seek DND help in securing banana farms in NPA controlled-areas

LOCAL exporters are seeking the help of Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana to secure agri-plantations they claimed to be under threat from the New People’s Army.

Ferdinand Maranon, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PEC) XI, said they invited Lorenzana to be their resource speaker for their upcoming conference.

Lorenzana has accepted the invitation to appear in the conference set on Sept. 12 and 13 at the SMX convention center.

“There is a very big problem in the banana industry for now and it is the peace and order problem,” Maranon said during yesterday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw held at the activity area of the annex building of the SM City Davao. “(We want to) know what’s the solution of the government to this problem.”

Maranon said thousands of banana growers will be attending the conference.

He lamented the continued practice of the NPA in burning trucks, machineries, and other equipment used by banana companies.

“It really has a big effect,” Maranon said.

He said major exporters like Lapanday and Dole Philippines are suffering from this “major problem in the farms.”

 He is hoping that the conference with the DND Sec. Lorenzana could lay “the best solution” to the armed threats.

The DND is the government agency tasked to guard against external and internal threats to peace and security in the country. It supervises, among others, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Don’t give

Maranon is also urging their members not to give in to the demands of the NPA.

“If we are giving them always we are just making the armed group powerful because they can already procure firearms and so on,” he added.

Last April 29, NPA guerillas staged simultaneous attacks in the three Lapanday Foods Corporation-owned warehouses and ranch in the region. They burned two box plants in Mandug and took away several firearms from the security guards.

The communist rebels also attacked the company’s Macondray plastic plant in Bunawan and disarmed its guards. High-powered firearms were seized by the NPA in the Lorenzo-owned ranch in Barangay Pangyan, Calinan District.

In August last year, the multi-national banana firm Dole-Stanfilco shut down its operation in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur following a series of attacks by NPA members on its container trucks. The company employed over 1,500 workers on its 400-hectare plantation.