Duterte eyes Malaysian investments in oil palm

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 November) – President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Friday he will encourage Malaysia to invest in the oil palm future of the country to help uplift the people’s economic conditions.

In his message at F. Bangoy International Airport upon his arrival from his state visits in Malaysia and Thailand, Duterte said some Malaysian investors had signified interest to invest in Marilog and Paquibato Districts during his last term of mayor of Davao City from 2013 to 2016.

He said that despite the potentials offered by the oil palm industry to improve the standard of living of farmers, the plan did not push through as the New People’s Army objected to it citing environmental factors.

Duterte said he will ask the National Democratic Front to reconsider its position against oil palm plantations.

“To delay based on something which is not accepted by everybody – to the detriment of government plans to alleviate the standard of living ng tao – somebody should talk to them again maybe this would be one project we can ask about dun sa Oslo because while waiting for the final result ano man yan, kailangan natin we have to improve the lives of the people,” he said.

“For as long as there is threat, we cannot do anything. But we will try again and again I will make sure to meet the experts of the world about water and the soil and ask them to explain why it is so,” he said.

He said oil palm has not caused environmental destruction in Malaysia.

“In Malaysia, it has not lost moisture or water. Kasi sa Agusan del Sur banda, matagal ng oil palm dyan (oil palm has been there for long) and proven to be a good source of revenue, and source of livelihood for the people there,” he said.

Duterte added he would consider himself a “failure” if he fails to address poverty at the end of his six-year term.

“Kung ang sitwasyon ganito lang (If the situation remains like this), I will consider myself really a total failure, not improving (the lives of the people) a few notches above. One thing for me to do is to, either resign or give it to somebody else, masyadong mabigat ang problema (the problem is so heavy),” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)