by maya m. padillo
The Tagum Agricul-tural Development Com-pany, Inc. (TADECO) said yesterday that Solicitor General Jose Calida’s statement on the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor)-TADECO JVA that was reported in yesterday’s Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), was “premature and uninformed.”
TADECO said there is indeed an on-going review of the Joint Venture Ag-reement (JVA) between itself and the BuCor at the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as a pen-ding resolution before the House of Representatives calling for an investigation filed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
However, the state-ment says the DOJ review is still on-going and the House probe has not yet begun. Furthermore, there is no case filed before the courts on the cancellation of the JVA and only a court of law can declare that a contract is void.
The statement des-cribed this as a case of prejudging the JVA, which has “withstood the test of time and multiple reviews by Secretaries of Justice and several congressional investigations over so many years. All of them have found the JVA to be valid and beneficial to the BuCor and the Republic of the Philippines.”
The statement went on to say that these are the “same items raised by Al-varez and there is nothing new in this recent statement of the Solicitor General.”
Quoted by the PDI, Calida said the JVA between the BuCor and TADECO “violated the 1987 Constitution and a Commonwealth-era edict on the use of public lands. The deal allowed TADECO to turn 5,300 hectares of the Davao Penal and Prison Farm (DPPF) for-merly called Davao Penal Colony into a commercial banana plantation.”
According to Calida the Constitution allows private entities to use public lands for a maximum period of 50 years. In the case of TADECO-BuCor deal, the first agreement was signed in1969 and was extended for another 25 years in 2003 or until September 2029, he said.