Bukidnon SP urged to pass legislation vs. plantation expansion

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/ 27 October)- To remain a food basket in Mindanao, it is high time for the Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to legislate a moratorium on the expansion of plantations before it is too late, an official said.

Jaime Go, chair of the Bukidnon Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AFC), told MindaNews Friday during the 11th Annual Malaybalay City AFC Congress that there is a need to control the expansion of plantation areas of multinational companies operating in the province.

“There is no need to drive them away, but there should be no more additional plantations or expansions, if possible,” he added.

If the expansions will continue, Bukidnon may end up being “an agricultural haven but with no food to eat,” Go stressed.

He lamented that the SP until now failed to pass a resolution declaring a moratorium on plantation expansion in the province, noting there was a pronouncement on such from the provincial government several years ago.

Go cited that the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia and the towns of Maramag and Quezon have already approved their resolutions banning plantation expansions in their respective jurisdictions.

He said the provincial AFC is planning to pass a resolution calling for a moratorium on plantation expansion in Bukidnon.

Go said the council will also advocate for the rest of the towns in Bukidnon to pass resolutions or ordinances banning the expansion of plantations.

In his speech, Malaybalay City Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri vowed to further strengthen the agricultural sector in the city as he believed that agriculture, not mining, is the key to development in the country.

Zubiri announced an additional P25 million budget to support agricultural projects in the area on top of the existing budget.

The congress theme focused on “AFC: Gabay sa Masa, Kaagapay, Tinig, at Tulay sa Paglaban sa Kahirapan at Pagsulong sa Kaunlaran (Guide of the masses, partner, voice, bridge in the fight against poverty and for the road to progress).”

The congress was also held in time for the achievement day of the Rural Improvement Club and the 4-H Club. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)