NSA, OPAPRU to evaluate ‘merit’ of Dacongcogon Sugar Mill revival



Malacañang has tasked National Security Adviser Eduardo Año and Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) Carlito Galvez to “evaluate the merit” of the petition of about 10,000 farmers to revive the Dacongcogon Sugar Mill Project in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.

In 2019, the OPAPRU and Philippine Army reported that the Chicks (Cauayan- Hinobaan-Ilog- Candoni-Kabankalan- Sipalay) area, or the province’s Sixth District, has the most insurgency-affected barangays in Negros Occidental, while the Provincial Development Council declared its four municipalities, including Ilog, Cauayan, Candoni and Hinobaan, as “poverty- stricken towns”, according to retired government prosecutor Rolando Parpa.

The petitioning farmers spearheaded by the Dacongcogon Farmers Producers Cooperative (DFPC) led by Parpa also issued an appeal to Rep. Mercedes  Alvarez  to follow up on the actions of Año and Galvez on the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) referrals, and to intercede for the OPAPRU, National Security Council, Sugar Regulatory Administration, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and National Economic Development Authority  to convene and act together in the context of the government announced “whole-of-nation” approach to support social programs to end insurgency.

Parpa also suggested that the inter-agency meeting should include representatives of the farmers, local executives and concerned stakeholders to get full determination of the “merit” of reviving the mill project established by the late President Ferdinand Marcos in 1968.

The petition of the farmers was also supported by all Chicks area mayors.

Parpa said that the Dacongcogon Sugar Milling District is the only district without a sugar mill.

He added that the sugarcane farmers are mostly small landholders, with almost half of their production going to costs of hauling their canes to distant mills.

Parpa added that the farmers, who could hardly take off from poverty, are appealing for social justice from the government.

In his letters to Año and Galvez, Rodolfo John Robert Palattao IV, Undersecretary for Legal Monitoring of the PMS, requested to “kindly evaluate the merits of the request, in accordance with your existing guidelines and applicable laws, rules and regulations.”  | GB