EMPLOYEES of Tagum Agricultural Development Co. Inc. on Tuesday slammed the allegations against the company, claiming there was a “well-orchestrated campaign meant to discredit the company.”
In a statement, Ryan Pete Zamora, one of Tadeco’s employees, said the circulating negative statements about the company were completely false, and that no one had bothered to fact-check their stories or taken the effort to interview the company’s employees to confirm the veracity of such reports.
“If there was truth about Tadeco being ‘abusive with its workers’ and ‘paying inmates with substandard’ rates, TADECO would never have reached 65 years,” Zamora said.
Calling themselves Tadeco Bananeros, Zamora and other Tadeco employees also praised the company’s salaries and benefits and the productivity and incentive programs for its workers, which had allowed the inmates working in Tadeco to send their children to school.
“How can we be competitive in the global market and very relevant in the banana industry if Tadeco is not taking good care of its workers?” Zamora said.
“The truth is that in Tadeco we are not treated as workers. We are treated as families, as partners in the business considering that we have the best in the industry when it comes to the quality incentive program and the productivity incentive program. Whoever said that Tadeco Bananeros are being abused are surely out of their minds.”
“For sure we never would have been so motivated about operational excellence if we were being abused. The Floirendo Family, the down-to-earth owners of Tadeco are treating us as family. The benefits they are giving to Tadeco Bananeros are above par in the banana industry. That is why Tadeco is a source of envy of the other companies in the industry,” he added.
Apparently referring to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who has been attacking Tadeco, Zamora said: “It is beyond Tadeco Bananeros why an individual who hails from Davao del Norte had said that ‘the banana industry knows about this [about Tadeco being abusive to its workers and to its inmates who are receiving substandard rates]’. Clearly, Sir, you are misinformed.”
Tadeco entered into a joint venture agreement with the government, represented by the Bureau of Corrections, in 1969 to help rehabilitate the inmates in the Davao Penal Colony by hiring them as workers in the banana plantation set up within the colony’s premises. The bureau, in turn, committed to give Tadeco “free and uninterrupted use of the land,” prevent the entry of squatters and maintain peaceful operating conditions.
The deal was renewed in 2003 with the latest agreement scheduled to lapse 12 years from now.
House Speaker Alvarez has filed House Resolution 867 that questions the company’s agreement with Corrections.
The resolution directed the committee on good government and accountability to look into the matter and investigate the alleged ill treatment in the banana plantation that is owned by Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr.
Tadeco disagreed: “Such allegation is completely baseless. Tadeco takes good care of its workers. This is evident in the high production yield of Tadeco, indicating that the workers are well motivated and very productive,” the company said.
“In fact, among all the banana companies in the Philippines, Tadeco has been branded as a champion on labor and community relations. It is a regular recipient of awards in the field of labor-management relations.”