DAVAO CITY – The series of New People’s Army (NPA)-led attacks in several banana and pineapple plantations in Bukidnon late January this year were carried out to warn multinational companies of their “destructive” expansion in Bukidnon.
Allan Juanito, spokesperson of the NPA in North Central Mindanao Region, said the soil excavation for leveling and planting plantations share a similar impact with mining.
“For every hectare bulldozed, more than 150 tonnes or 70 dump-truck loads of soil would be displaced and eroded into streams and rivers. This would annihilate every standing tree, grass and other undergrowth on the soil, including even the good insects that would be poisoned by insect sprays and fertilizers,” Juanito said in a statement.
Between January 25 and 30, three bulldozers, one generator set, one hummer truck, two boom sprayers, and four blocks of MD2 pineapples measuring around four hectares, were burned by the NPAs in separate attacks in Bukidnon.
On January 25, an NPA unit burned the equipment of Leo Wu, a contractor for Del Monte Philippines, Inc. in Barangay San Juan, Balingasag. The equipment consisted of a bulldozer, a hummer truck, and a generator set.
Two days later, four blocks of Del Monte’s MD2 pineapples measuring around four hectares were razed in Brgy. Lapinigan, Libona, Bukidnon around 9:00 pm.
On Saturday, January 30, the NPAs razed a boom spray for pineapples in Barangay Laguitas believed to be owned by the Lapanday Company, a boom spray for bananas of Dole Skyland, and two D150 Caterpillar bulldozers of Del Monte in Barangay Gabunan, Casisang, in Malaybalay City.
“While the numerous peasants and their families here in our region wallow in intense poverty in the face of El Niño’s torment, the imperialist companies of Del Monte and Dole-Itucho, including Lapanday of the Lorenzo family, continually indulge in expanding their plantations,” Juanito said.
He added that with every hectare of land used by the plantations, another hectare allotted food crop production is lost.
Multinational companies have made a fortune in Mindanao due to its fertile land suitable by producing export commodities such as pineapple and banana.
Lapanday Foods produces more than two million boxes of pineapples annually from its combined 1,000-hectare plantations in Aglayan and Maluko in Bukidnon.
Del Monte Pacific Ltd (DMPL) and its subsidiaries operate the world’s largest pineapple plantation in Mindanao producing about 700,000 tonnes of pineapples annually.
Meanwhile, Dole Food Company is also known as the world’s biggest supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables. In September 2012, Dole sold its two businesses to Itochu Corporation, Japan’s third largest trading company.
The NPA also carried out similar attacks in December last year in the towns of Impasug-ong and Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon to stop their expansions and environmentally-destructive operations.
“We reiterate our plead onto all Filipino contractors to refrain from transacting with the enterprise of the multinationals and the bourgeoisie compradors who are targets of the revolutionary movement so that their equipment could be spared,” said Juanito. (davaotoday.com)