SOME 10,000 workers of the Tagum Agricultural Development Co. (Tadeco) fear losing their jobs amid questions on the legality of the land deal it entered into with the government for the use of the more than 5,000 hectares of land in the Davao Penal Colony.
The plantation workers, through the Associated of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), on Sunday sought the intervention of President Rodrigo Duterte to save their jobs following reports that the Department of Justice has found the joint venture agreement between Tadeco and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) disadvantageous to the government.
The ALU-TUCP lamented that there seems to be a rush to “kill” the agreement at the expense of thousands of poor workers.
“In this unseemly and hasty rush to kill off the JVA, the real injustice will be to the ordinary workers who will be the first casualty when they lose their jobs. Thousands of workers and their families’ futures will no longer have a human dimension as they will be reduced to subsistence survival levels, mere shadows forgotten in the spotlight off the elect and the elite,” said Michael Mendoza, president of ALU-TUCP.
The group appealed to the President to look into the controversy, which came to light because of the feud between the mistresses of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr., whose family runs the vast banana plantation.
Mendoza said that the plight of the more than 10,000 workers should be the top consideration.
“We appeal to President Duterte to look into the plight of the workers and their families who have been overlooked (in the heat of the Alvarez-Florendo tug of war),” he said. “If indeed there were legal infirmities in the joint venture agreement, then corrective measures must first be made.”
“Let us be real here. This rush to so-called justice may have less to do with truth and has more to do with our collective hypocrisies. Their rulings are clearly towards a pre-ordained conclusion,” he added.