Maguindanao banana plantation closed over tensions

February 16, 2018 - 10:19 AM

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — A banana plantation associated with food giant Del Monte in the town of Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao has temporarily shut down operations following tensions with landowners and the local government.

The plantation operated by Delinanas Development Corp. had also been the target of attacks by still unidentified gunmen who have cut down plants on several instances, fired shots, torched a packing center and attempted to burn company vehicles, made off with equipment and hurt security guards, the town police sid.

The closure order on the plantation was issued following a meeting of the town’s peace and order council on Thursday, which was attended by provincial police director Senior Superintendent Agustin Tello, 1st Mechanized Battalion commander Colonel Lauro Oliveros, village officials, landowners and company executives.

The local government accused Delinanas of failing to secure business and buildings permits, pay proper taxes and rent for the 584 hectares it has leased in Barangays Tukanologong and Maranding.

Landowners at the meeting said they have not been paid rent for the pas four years. At the same time, they denied any hand in the attacks on the plantation.

Delinanas, which employs more than a thousand persons, promised to settle its arrears.

This was the second time the plantation has been temporarily shut down.