Thursday, May 23, 2019

Farmers slam Ayala project as ‘anti-poor’

FARMERS groups in Misamis Oriental have lambasted the new project of Ayala Land Incorporated dubbed Habini Bay, which is envisioned to become the new center of trade and commerce in the Northern Mindanao.

In a statement, the Laguindingan Farmers Association (LaFA), Moog Farmers Association (MOFA), and Tubajon Farmers Association (TuFA) said the planned development in the municipalities of Alubijid and Laguindingan will cause mass dislocation and lead to loss of livelihood.

The groups called the project an "anti-poor commercialization" while the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Northern Mindanao said this development is one-sided and only benefits those in the government and the big corporation.

"These development projects increase the profit of the corporations by expanding their businesses and grabbing the farmers' land through unlawful practices," the group said.

The farmers said the new project reminds them of the Laguindingan Airport project where the Ayala Group also promised to provide jobs to the affected farmers and give them livelihood, relocation, and disturbance compensation.

But these turned out to be false promises as the developer has continued to disregard the 2013 Supreme Court decision, which ordered the release of disturbance compensation to the Laguindingan farmers affected by the construction of the airport.

In a press conference early this month, Ayala Land representatives admitted that there were a "few holdouts" in the area but pointed out that the company has continued to find a common ground with these groups.

Over the years, it said that more than 780 residents have been given relocation sites and economic package as compensation.

Ayala Land said it is "committed to provide decent and respectable compensation that will be affected by the development" and vowed to "continue work with other government agencies to settle remaining issues".

The farmers also called out Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny "Bambi" Emano who has been supportive of the project.

They said Emano does not consider the negative impact of this development project on the farmers and residents of the two municipalities.

The Habini Bay is expected to generate about 40,000 jobs coming from locators, while 2,580 jobs will be available in its developmental stage.

It will house the Municipal Government of Laguindingan and the Provincial Government of Misamis Oriental. Hotels, a sea port, a provincial bus terminal, and a technical vocational school are also expected to rise in the area.


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