Peace and order threatens banana industry
The government has acknowledged that peace and order issues have been threatening the country’s $1-billion banana industry.
A report by the Manila Bulletin said that during the 2016 Banana Congress, President Rodrigo R. Duterte acknowledged for the first time that the banana industry is hampered by the continuous harassment of lawless groups in Mindanao.
“The greatest challenge of the banana growers in the Philippines is really the law and order. Until and unless you can put together a country that’s bereft of any revolutionary tax, extortion and everything, sinusunog ang [burning the] property, it’s all because of the taxation. If it’s not taxation of the communists, it’s extortion of the roving bandits in Mindanao,” Duterte said during the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Banana Congress held in Davao City.
Some of the industry stakeholders, particularly big banana plantations, have been seeking government support in fighting extortionists from the communist rebel group New People’s Army (NPA) who are demanding revolutionary taxes.
The banana industry currently generates over $1 billion in earnings every year and pays an annual tax to government amounting to over P6 billion.