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Floirendo group hunts for new areas for bananas.

The parent firm of the Floirendo family's Tagum Agricultural Development Co. Inc. (Tadeco) is looking for new areas where it can grow bananas even as Tadeco digs in for a fight to continue operations at the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol).

Anthony B. Sasin, chair of Anflo Management and Investment Corp. (Anflocor), on Friday told reporters Anflocor was eyeing about 2,000 hectares in Cateel, Davao Oriental, which could help offset the loss of land resources when Tadeco lets go of 5,308 hectares at Dapecol, which is subject of a joint venture agreement with the Bureau of Corrections.

Sasin said Anflocor was doing this amid a threat of the JVA being cancelled, as the contract is again being subject of an inquiry at the House of Representatives.

'In any case, we need to expand our plantation areas (for export-quality bananas) because we don't have an option for another extension of the JVA,' Sasin said.

He said Tadeco's operation at Dapecol represented 'a little over half' of Anflocor's plantation areas, and 58 percent of the group's banana exports - 15 million boxes out of a total of 26 million boxes annually.

The JVA, allowing Tadeco to tap Dapecol inmates as workers, was first struck in 1969 and renewed in 2003 for 25 years until 2029.

The agreement has been reviewed at least twice before, first in 1971 by the Senate blue ribbon committee and second in 1989 when Corazon Aquino was president. Sasin said both inquiries showed that the JVA was valid.

The JVA is once again subject of an inquiry at the House, apparently triggered by a personal spat between House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr.

Earlier this month, Tadeco said the Department of Justice's finding that the joint venture agreement (JVA) between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Tagum Agricultural Development Co. (Tadeco) as unconstitutional is 'fraught with legal misinterpretations,' according to the company.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 26, 2017
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