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PIA Press Release

DTI-XI official denies banana farmers drowning in debts

Davao City (5 March) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) XI refuted the claim of a local media practitioner that the agency's Provincial Director of Davao del Norte, PD Nenita S. Nazareno confirmed the following statement, among others, "over hundred banana farmers are drowning in P100 million unpaid debts" in Sto Tomas, Davao del Norte.

In an article released by Mr. Aurelio A. Peņa through a national online news service last February 21, dateline addressed in Sto Tomas Davao del Norte quoted DTI-Davao del Norte Provincial Director Nenita S. Nazareno that, she confirmed the statements of a certain Crisanto Iņigo that "the debts of almost 100 farmers in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte are piled up that they are earning almost next to nothing from their exports of fresh Cavendish bananas because all their earnings go to pay up these debts totaling almost a million pesos".

How can she confirmed this when she has not attended any banana industry forum in Sto Tomas. Further, Director Nazareno has no knowledge about the said obligations and conditions cited by people, here allegedly by Mr. Crisanto Iņigo, whom she has not discussed with the said matter.

PD Nazareno who was not personally interviewed by Peņa found the following irrational and irresponsible utterances, "Banana farmers in Davao del Norte have no voice, no power over their banana production. Multinationals are still exploiting these banana farmers?that's why they remain poor" are mere fabrications and product of the writer's imagination.

Nazareno said, those statements are inconsistent with the DTI's development direction particularly the promotion of the industry cluster program where big banana companies are taking the lead role. They served as institutional buyers of the local banana producers. Small growers, most of them are CARP beneficiaries are being assisted by government-- capacitating them to increase their productivity and mainstreaming them to the cluster program.

This has been made possible through the collaboration of the private sector, Region XI's Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as resource provider through the implementation of the Davao Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (DICCEP). Such project for the local banana industry has carried out various measures in order to bring more development into this big export industry of the region.

With the noble objectives of the collaborating agencies together with the private sector and the honest intention of PD Nazareno as DTI's point person in promoting the cluster project, the latter found the published article as baseless. She is wondering where the media man got those figures. Obviously, there was no other way to make the news appear credible and sensational without citing someone in authority to be the source.

I do not know what could be the other motives, if there are any behind this sensational publication done at my expense? Nazareno asked. I just do not want myself to be dragged and victimized by those who are trying to undermine the banana industry, which is the biggest contributor to the economic growth of this region.

"I demand for a public apology from the author for he has maligned me and the office I represent," she said. Likewise, PD Nazareno is making an earnest appeal to the news publisher to give this disclaimer a fair exposure/publication. (PIA) [top]

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