Bizmen say peace process to boost Mindanao's econ

THE success of the peace process between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) will pave way for the island's full attainment of economic potentials and opportunities, the business community in Mindanao said.

Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.(PhilExport)-Davao president Ferdinand Marañon said the government's effort to forge peace agreement with the NDF is a way forward to development, adding it will address the root cause of the armed conflict.

Marañon said the business community hoped that the success of the peace pact will eliminate the unnecessary revolutionary taxes.

"Hopefully, all these revolutionary taxes imposed to banana companies will be put to an end," Marañon said, adding the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, can now control its members not to extort money from farmers.

Stephen Antig, Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association executive director, echoed Marañon's statement saying the peace process undertaken by the current administration is a welcome development.

"Peace is very important partner of development. We laud all peace efforts and we are happy that the peace talks are moving well," Antig said.

Antig added peace and order situation has become one of the constraints faced by banana firms for several years.

Antig cited that one of its members operating in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur, lost about P20 million in a period of five years due to burning of equipment and other destructive actions allegedly committed by the NPA.

Last year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Eastern Mindanao Command said private companies in Mindanao lost some P250 million caused by NPA attacks.

Mindanao Business Council Chair Vicente Lao said in a previous report that the figure (P250-M) is but an underestimation.

The Government Republic of the Philippines and NDF peace panels are set to return to Oslo, Norway on October 6 to 10 for the second round of negotiations.

Both parties will discuss about the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms, the Reciprocal Working Groups on Political and Constitutional Reforms and End of Hostilities-Disposition of Forces, bilateral ceasefire and amnesty proclamation.


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