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PIA Press Release

Dabapwati warns members against scams

By Cherry Marie Delfin

Davao City (1 March) -- Officers of the Davao Banana Plantation Worker's Association of Tiburcia, Inc. (DABAPWATI) introduced themselves to the media last Thursday, February 28.

The officers came forward to warn the members of DABAPWATI against other people claiming to be 'legitimate' officers of the organization and collecting membership fees. The officers led by Crecencio Saycon, Jr., Vice President of DABAPWATI, strongly contend that they do not charge membership fees or any monetary collections from the 42,000 members of the association spread all over Mindanao.

The officers of DABAPWATI admit that the association has been divided into two factions over the years. After the former president of DABAPWATI, Jimmy Valentin, terminated the services of the association's legal counsel, Atty. Rodolfo Taasan, Jr., many of the members were concerned that Valention instead appointed Herminio T. Tayag as the official negotiator. Tayag promised an out of court settlement within 120 days in 2055 but Years have flown and yet the banana workers are yet to receive a single cent from the said negotiations.

Valentin's failure to conduct the association's annual election of officers for two consecutive years (2005- 2006) also fueled unrest among the members of the association. Last August 10, 2007, DABAPWATI elected a new set of officers namely, Roque Macasa, Jr. (Pres.), Crecencio Saycon, Jr., (v. Pres.) Jesus Gregorio (Secretary), Lodenio Tabaldo (Treasurer), Ismael Buladaco (Auditor) and Estanisla Viovicente (Board of Trustee).

However Valentin and his group are still pushing through with negotiations while the newly elected officers reinstated Taasan as legal counsel. The officers were recognized by the Supreme Count and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the "legal and lawful officers of DABAPWATI.

Currently, DABAPWATI officers are focusing their attention to the association's class suit against Dow Chemical, Shell Co., Occidental Chemical, Dole and Standard, Del Monte and Chiquita Banana. The multi-billion suit is due the companies using dibromochloropropane (DBCP) chemical unbeknownst the banana plantation workers. The chemical, banned in the US since 1976, is said to be the cause of death and many incurable diseases such as kidney damage, cancer and sterility.

Despite the concern DABAPWATI claims that banana plantation administrators still made use of the chemical during the mid 70's till the mid 80's at the expense of the workers' health.

DABAPWATI officers and members are hopeful that the class suit which has dragged on for the last nine and a half years will soon be resolved. (ADDU/PIA XI) [top]

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