Malaysian firm hires Ampatuan villagers | Inquirer News
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Malaysian firm hires Ampatuan villagers

/ 12:05 AM August 04, 2014

COTABATO CITY—Over a hundred villagers of Barangay (village) Salman in Ampatuan town, where 58 people, 32 of them journalists, were killed in November 2009, were hired on Thursday to grow bananas by a Malaysia-led banana company.

Among those hired were former members of the Moro National Liberation Front and active members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, according to Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who led  the ceremonial planting at the newly developed 1,500-hectare plantation being operated by Universal Exports Malaysia and Filipino firm Al-Mujahidun Agro Resources Development Inc. (Amardi).

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Mangudadatu said that with the entry of such development, the once “chaotic and feared Barangay Salman,” where the infamous Maguindanao massacre took place, would soon become progressive, similar to other Maguindanao towns where banana plantations flourish.

“It is also our mission to strengthen spiritual and moral values, adopt international halal certifications and advance farming technology toward superior quality products with customer satisfaction,” said Abdulwahid Sumaoang, Amardi president and chief executive officer.

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Sumaoang, who has partnered with Ed Bullecer, an official of a food firm, for the venture, said the company was looking forward to a fruitful investment, citing that a hectare of 2,400 fully grown banana plants could yield an average of P1.3 million in export earnings.

Mangudadatu said that aside from benefiting from being employed at Amardi, he was hoping that the locals would also gain from the amenities the company plans to put up.

Within a 3-hectare compound along the national highway will soon rise social amenities such as the Mindanao Halal Institute of Science and Technology, a clinic and hospital,  mosque, motor-pool warehouse, food processing center, demonstration farm and playground, he said.

“This indeed is a big help to the government’s pacification campaign,” said Brig. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th Infantry Division.

Pangilinan cited the experience of Buluan and Datu Paglas towns, which have become peaceful after investors came in.

“The hiring of former rebels and qualified members of their households in the plantation is a plus factor in the military’s peacekeeping mission,”  Pangilinan noted. Charlie Señase, with a report from Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Ampatuan, banana, Filipino firm Al-Mujahidun Agro Resources Development Inc., Maguindanao massacre, News, Regions, Universal Exports Malaysia
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