THE peace and order situation Mindanao is currently facing is seen to affec the plantation expansion plans of banana industry players, an official of the Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) said.

With the presence of the terrorists and rebel groups in Mindanao, PBGEA Executive Director Stephen Antig said some of the businessmen he talked to are already having second thoughts on pushing through with their planned investments in the island.

He said Del Monte Philippines had previously expressed intent on expanding its banana and pineapple plantation in other parts of Mindanao, but decided to postpone due to the peace and order situation.

“It (peace and order conflict) will put a lot of expansion on hold because the investors have fears of investing and then be attacked. We will have a problem with the recovery of your investment. It’s not that easy because most of the investments are loaned from the banks…We really hope that with the declaration of Martial Law, the military will really put a stop to all these harassments and rebellion,” said Antig.

He also said some businessmen, during their meetings, would complain of their vans of pineapples being burned down by the alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in various parts of Mindanao.

“As we have always expressed during press conferences and meetings, we are really hoping that once and for all, the government will be able to really put us up to all these problems. First, we have to establish whether the NPA or the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front are really sincere in negotiating for peace…The government should really do something about the peace and order situation in Mindanao otherwise the economy will definitely suffer if this will continue,” Antig said adding this is not only the concern of the businessmen but more so of the residents and civilians that are affected by the conflict.