Guingona seeks probe of effects of US sanctions vs. Iran on RP banana industry

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 Nov) – Senator Teofisto Guingona III has filed a resolution asking the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food to examine the impact of the United States economic sanctions against Iran on the Philippine banana export industry and to recommend ways to mitigate it.

US President Barack Obama signed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISDA), a set of economic sanctions meant to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program which the US views as a threat to stability in the Middle East.

The US has accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has responded to the sanctions by banning the importation of certain products coming from countries allied with the US.

Senate Resolution 263 noted that even if Iran excluded Philippine bananas in the list of banned products, “the exporters continue to experience severe damage to their commerce.”

Iran consumes about half of the 50 million boxes of bananas that the Philippines ship to the Middle East every year.

Guingona said the country is the second largest banana exporter in the world, with annual earnings averaging $720 million, and claiming a workforce of 240,000 in the banana export industry.

The provinces of Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sarangani and Agusan host vast areas of banana plantations. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)