ECJCHRO | 14 June 2013
British Palm Oil Company to invest in Loreto AgSur
By Juvanie C. Espana/Municipal Information Services
LORETO, AGUSAN DEL SUR- a British palm oil company is planning to invest on palm oil plantation industry in the Municipality of Loreto.
NBPOL, a medium-sized Papua New Guinnea-based company has eyed barangay Sta. Teresa as the pilot test area and demonstration farm for palm oil. According to Mr. Clive Taylor, assistant operations manager, the plan is a part of the company’s thirty-six thousand hectares target expansion of palm oil plantation in Asia. He added that Sta. Teresa is chosen as the pilot area for this plan because of the soil suitability and the availability of land which is at least one thousand hectares for the initial operation.
With Mr. Taylor is Mr. Guy Williams, an Australian environmental consultant assured the people of Loreto that the proposed project must comply with the Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) global standards to ensure that plantation wastes do not deplete the environment. He emphasized that aside from the consultation, they will also conduct a mapping in the area to identify and preserve important places for the lumad Manobo such as burial and hunting grounds.
In the initial three-day consultation conducted on June 4-6, 2013 by the investors together with the personnel from the Agusan del Sur Economic Sustainability and Development Council (ASESDC), representatives from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga Regional Office 13, and some other invited personnel from the Department of Agrararian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the province of Agusan del Sur, about six hundred barangay constituents which compose the indigenous peoples sector, the agrarian reform beneficiaries, women’s group and the entire farming sector of the barangay have signified interest to the proposal.
Along this line, Honorable Mayor-elect Dario E. Otaza expressed his full support to the plan as this will open a great investment opportunity for Loreto and that development can finally take off after decades of long waiting. He said that NBPOL is interested to invest in Loreto after they learned that peace and order situation in the place is pacified. “Here’s what we have been aspiring for. We have to show to them that we are indeed united so that they (investors) would be encouraged more and put on their investments here. If this happens, progress would be coming in and that our problems on unemployment and poverty can be addressed.” Mayor-elect Otaza added.
Meanwhile, SB Member-elect Ricky Q. Angwas, who is the Secretary-General of the Agusan del Sur Tribal Council expressed his support to the project and promised to pass a legislative measure to impose tax holidays to encourage more investments to come in the Municipality of Loreto.
When asked as to when shall the project commence, Mr. Taylor replied that the company follows its approved activity plan and as early as the mandatory requirements of the government are complied with and that all land ownership are free of tenurial conflicts and people of the eleven target barangays of Loreto are consulted, NBPOL top management shall send a go signal for the operation.