As many as 1,000 workers stand to lose their jobs if multinational banana firm Dole-Stanfilco pushes through with its plan to shut down due to the series of attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) on its 400-hectare plantation in Tago, Tagbina and Barobo towns in Surigao del Sur.
“We are very much concerned of this plan by the company to shut down because many workers will be displaced and thousands of their dependents might also be affected,” Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny T. Pimentel said.
Pimentel said he was deeply concerned about the fate of the workers and thousands more of their dependents as the closure of the firm was going to be “anytime.”
Top officials of the provincial government military and police officials, and some line agencies of the government are set to hold a dialogue with the management of Dole Philippines-Stanfilco to come up with a solution for the impending closure, he said
According to Pimentel, the company had actually mulled closing shop in 2016 but was only prevailed upon the provincial government to reconsider its decision because of the number of workers that will be affected.
“The company considered our request last year, with some security measures extended to them by the government force,” he said.
This time, the solon noted it will be hard to convince Dole management to reconsider following the latest attack (July 18) by the NPA where several hectares of fully grown banana trees were chopped down and six trucks were set on fire.
“However, this time, we hope that they will reconsider again our request (for them) not to stop their operation,” he added.
From 2010, the rebels have already burned a total of 19 container trucks that transport bananas to Davao City where it will be transported for export to other countries.
This year alone, Dole has lost seven trucks to such burnings. The company reportedly could no longer afford to incur losses because of these attacks.
The sustained NPA attacks were due to the refusal of the banana company to pay the Communists revolutionary tax, military and police officials said. By CLC