By Zea C. Capistrano
Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte – Tension arose as banana plantation workers tried to stop personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from trying to remove road blocks inside the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) farm yesterday morning.
Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), provincial officials led by District Engineer Noel Basanes of DPWH in Davao del Norte, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and representatives of the Office of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez were starting to dismantle the road blocks put up by Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) Inc. inside the Dapecol prison farm when the plantation workers intervened.
The area has been leased to Tadeco, which is owned by the family of Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., through a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA).
The agreement is the object of a graft case that was filed against Floirendo.
The group first attempted to open the Bugtong Lubi road going to Barangay Bobongon and the Crossing La Libertad going to Purok 1 in Barangay Balagunan.
The group then tried to remove the first road block at the Tanglaw-Dujali area and succeeded. However, on the second road block, the DPWH personnel were stopped by dozens of workers.
The group was implementing a land survey requested by the House Committee on Government and Public Accountability to the regional Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to survey the roads that were reportedly closed to the public.
Edwin Jubahib, a staff of House Speaker Alvarez, also showed to The Manila Bulletin a copy of the order from the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, and Committee on Justice of the House of Representatives to “remove the road blocks and clear the public roads” inside Dapecol.