BuCor puts on hold plan for Davao Penal Colony banana plantation
The Bureau of Corrections’ (BuCor) contingency plan for the management of the 5,308.36-hectare banana plantation inside the Davao Penal Colony reservation is on hold.
BuCor Chief Benjamin Delos Santos said their contingency planning will depend upon the final outcome of the congressional investigation and recommendation of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The DOJ is currently reviewing the contract between the government and the Tagum Agricultural Development Co. Inc. (Tadeco).
The contract is a 25-year joint venture agreement between BuCor and Tadeco. DOJ exercises administrative supervision over the agency.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier sought a legislative probe into the BuCor-Tadeco JVA over the DPC’s property allegedly for being grossly disadvantageous to the government. He questioned, among others, the firm’s annual payments for both lease and profit sharing as only a fraction of the prevailing market rate.
Delos Santos said they want to prepare for a contingency plan in case the contract is voided.
He explained that the planning is necessary because “we do not have the capability and expertise to manage the plantation.”
De los Santos made the statement after the DOJ’s fact-finding committee earlier made an observation that the BuCor-Tadeco JVA is “fraught . . . with infirmities.”
Aguirre, who noted that the JVA was renewable for another 25 years, admitted it would be difficult to renegotiate the terms of the agreement at this point.
The DOJ Secretary, however, was caught unaware that the primary goal of the joint venture agreement was to rehabilitate the inmates of Dapecol.
“I was not informed that this contract constitute some parts of rehabilitation of the inmates,” Aguirre earlier said.
Under the deal, Tadeco committed to use inmates from the Davao Prison and Penal Farm and pay them “minimum daily wages” and provide them with “necessary emergency medical measures.”
The contract dates back to the Marcos administration when the first joint venture agreement was signed in July 1969 and consolidated into a fresh 25-year contract in September 1979.
A year before its expiry, the contract was renewed in May 1, 2003 between Floirendo’s father, Antonio Floirendo Sr. and then BuCor chief Ramon Liwag.