Del Monte’s management makes a fool of itself by feigning innocence on their apparent culpability when the New People’s Army launched a punitive action against them. All these years, they consider their decades-old exploitation and oppression of workers, peasants and Lumads, environmental plunder and destruction as perfectly laudable. What a surprise indeed! They are not a bit bothered by guilty conscience of the weight of the responsibility in permanently exposing to danger the lives and properties of the people living along the streams and rivers emptying into Macajalar Bay.
Nothing concerns them more than amassing super-profits by exploiting the labor of their low paid workers. Del Monte flaunts repeatedly that it has provided 20,000 jobs in the ten municipalities of Bukidnon, at the cost of the eviction and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of peasants and Lumads who once made their living in these lands. In reality, this figure is wittingly bloated to create an impression that Del Monte contributes significantly in the local economy. According to Chito Lorenzo, the US-Arroyo regime’s former presidential adviser on 1million jobs creation, Del Monte only employs 7,000 workers.
They also vaunt their inconsequential aid that benefited several communities. Their scholarship programs, medical missions and other paltry services are carried out only because they are required to do so under the reactionary government’s laws on corporate social responsibility. It is not out of the company’s goodwill; rather, it is for availing tax deductions from cheated corporate tax due the reactionary government. They also see nothing bad about hiring the services of Kadre Security Agency that blatantly violates the rights of the poor residents near the plantations, as well as that of the plantation workers themselves.
They did not give attention to the revolutionary movement’s warning regarding the cessation of their environmentally-destructive operations at the aftermath of Sendong, and they merely ignored the movement’s letter obliging them to extend bigger donations to the Sendong victims as a gesture of acknowledging their role in environmental degradation. They did not seriously heed the revolutionary movement’s prohibition of the expansion of their plantations when several equipments doing the land preparation in Kinoguitan, Misamis Oriental were rendered inoperative by the NPA last August 26, 2012.
But the time has come when their longstanding malpractice can no longer go unrestrained like the old way. Revolutionary forces are now around their plantations reasonably available to keep them in check. The recent attack is but a preliminary step that sends a clear message: this is now pay back time. As to the workers of DMPI, they must unite and establish their genuine union to assert their rights and welfare and link with the national democratic movement with a socialist perspective. To the workers and Lumads, they must further strengthen their unity and involvement in advancing the revolutionary armed struggle which implements genuine land reform.
To all environmental advocates and those who care for mother earth and humanity, we must expose and oppose the environmentally-destructive operations of the agribusiness plantations of Del Monte and Dole. We must be ever-vigilant and assert our rights and of the future generations to make this planet a safe place for all of us.
Cesar Renerio Spokesperson NDFP North Central Mindanao Chapter February 27, 2013