MEPI, ARBs reach ‘win-win’ solution
The Marsman Estate Plantation, Inc. (MEPI) and its agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) forged a new agribusiness venture agreement (AVA) that would provide workers in the MEPI banana farm a significantly improved package of land rental, salaries, and benefits that remain the highest in the industry.
Both the MEPI management and members of the Davao Marsman Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Cooperative (DAMARB) described the amended AVA as a “win-win” solution that would guarantee the ARBs an unmatched array of benefits.
A statement showed that benefits include 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. said majority of the ARBs working in the Marsman plantation have already signed the amended agreement.
“As of this writing, 489 out of the 793 ARBs have already signed the amended agreement. At least 18 more ARBs who are residing outside Davao del Norte and/or are sick or incapacitated have committed to sign through their representatives. 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,” Sison said in his letter to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Hernando Rivero, the chairman of the board of DAMARB, said the organization’s members find the amended agreement “to be reasonable and economically beneficial for themselves, the community, the banana industry and the government.”
The amended lease AVA, Rivero said, will ensure that more than 1,800 employees of MEPI would get to keep their jobs, which will, in turn, benefit nearly 8,000 dependents.