DAVAO-BASED-MARSMAN Estate Plantation, Inc. (MEPI) said it and its agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) signed an agribusiness venture agreement (AVA).
In a Thursday statement, MEPI and members of the Davao Marsman Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Cooperative arrived at an agreement guaranteeing ARBs a signing bonus and retroactive and advance rental payments for each ARB-signatory amounting to P105,000 as well as a regular monthly income for each of them.
MEPI President Antero Sison, Jr., in a June 21 letter addressed to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, said majority of the ARBs working in the firm’s plantation have signed the amended agreement.
“As your Excellency has voiced in a number of occasions, the Republic continues to be run under democratic principles and hence, the wishes of the majority must prevail,” Mr. Sison said in his letter quoted in the statement MEPI sent to reporters yesterday.
To date, some 489 ARBs out of the 793 have signed the amended agreement, the company said.
At least 18 more residing outside Davao del Norte or are sick have committed to sign through their representatives.
The AVA ensures that more than 1,800 employees of the banana farm will retain their jobs, benefiting some 8,000 dependents.
The new deal includes payment for land rental of P50,000 per hectare per annum plus an increase of P10,000 every five years, which the company said is more than twice the average rate for the industry.
“For all ARBs, this will total P40 million per annum for the first five years, and getting higher as the escalation takes effect,” Mr. Sison added.
The payments for each ARB will take effect starting January.
AVAs are contracts entered into by an ARB or group of ARBs, and an investor which involves the possession of the land; management of the operations of the farming of the land; and control or distribution of the produce of the land. — Janina C. Lim