TADECO SAYS ROAD OPENED NOT BECAUSE OF POLITICS
TAGUM CITY— Three village officials whose communities were affected by the closure of a road passing through Tagum Agricultural Development Co. (Tadeco) Inc. banana plantation in Sto. Tomas town, Davao del Norte, had sought the assistance of the national government to intervene and reopen the farm road.
In a statement on Monday, Tadeco said reports crediting the reopening of the El Canto farm road to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and other officials “were untrue and unfounded.”
Tadeco said the decision to allow the public to use the road, that passes through the villages of Balagunan, Bobongon and Tulalian, was prompted by efforts of officials in these areas to ask for government intervention as early as 2004.
The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the local government in 2012 approved the road’s closure to prevent the spread of fungus fusarium, a plant disease, in the plantation.
Opening the roads was then thought to put Tadeco and other banana farms at risk of the disease, which could wipe out the entire banana industry.
Tadeco, in its statement, said claims that the opening of the road was the result of the filing of a resolution by Alvarez was “laced with ambition and unfounded.”
The firm said that village chiefs Allan Magallanes, Henry Danila and Geronimo Gumanid had sought the help of the BPI to reopen the road after Tadeco “hesitantly closed it” in 2012.
The quarantine order to prevent the spread of fusarium was issued by then BPI chief Clarito Barron and approved by then Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
It was enforced in all banana plantations, including Tadeco.
Local officials and legislators supported the biosecurity measures.
Tadeco said the road would have been opened sooner had lead petitioner, banana grower Jesus Boton of Balagunan, installed bio-security facilities like tire and footbaths.
Following a series of meetings between Tadeco and the Bureau of Corrections, the road was opened to the public last March 26 after quarantine measures had been put in place.
One of the roads with biosecurity facilities in Tadeco plantation which was opened to the public on March 26.