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DOJ spurns Alvarez request to invalidate Tadeco-BuCor deal

/ 09:39 PM May 10, 2017
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. PHOTO BY JOAN BONDOC/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said it was Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to nullify the more than 40-year-old joint venture agreement (JVA) between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Davao-based Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc.

Aguirre, however, said while there was already a recommendation that the JVA violates the Constitution, he cannot accede to the request because it was not within his powers to issue such a declaration.

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The Justice Chief said among the violations cited by the DOJ’s review panel is that the JVA exceeds the 50-year limit in leasing public lands. The JVA ends in 2029.

He added that the Constitution allows only up to 1,000 hectares of land to be leased but Tadeco utilizes over 5,000 hectares of land at the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol).

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However, Tadeco president and CEO Alex Valoria insisted that the JVA is not only valid and legal,  but is also highly beneficial to the government and to some 30,000 direct and indirect workers in the banana industry and other related sectors.

Tadeco president and CEO Alex Valoria stressed these key points as he explained before lawmakers the constitutionality and legality of the BuCor-Tadeco JVA during the joint hearing Tuesday of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability and the Committee on Justice on the issue.

Valoria also submitted Tadeco’s position paper to Congress to answer point by point the accusations made against the company.

“We respectfully would like to point out to our honorable lawmakers that the JVA is not only about money; the more important aspect to it is its core purpose of the rehabilitation of the inmates which has been a proven success,” Valoria said in a statement. “The benefits to thousands of ex-inmates, their spouses and children, and finally to the communities they eventually settled into are immeasurable.”

Aguirre, during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay, admitted that through the JVA, more than 12,000 people have been employed and over 1,000 inmates have jobs.

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TAGS: Philippine news updates, Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc., Vitaliano Aguirre II
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