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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Goma goes after the gold

If LBP trusted the Oñates with a sizable amount of cash, it must have gone through the loan application with a fine-toothed comb and decided that the applicant was worth every peso of the credit line

“Discretion is the better part of valor,” a quote from William Shakespeare’s history play Henry IV, really means it’s important to be cautious before rushing into doing something.

Wise advice that everyone, including those in public office, should bear in mind.

We’re reminded of this after actor/athlete-turned-politician Richard “Goma” Gomez apparently wanted to run to the ground the largest agricultural facility in the Visayas and Mindanao regions with a terse statement, “Walang kaibigan, trabaho lamang.”

This was obviously intended to please the peanut gallery, but not the more than 500 executives and rank-and-file employees of the DBSN Farm Agriventures Inc. owned by the family of Mayor Ramon Oñate of Palompon, Leyte.

Gomez came out with guns blazing against the Oñate couple and DBSN for alleged violations of the country’s land use and environmental laws.

He first initiated an inquiry in the House of Representatives.

Then, he asked the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines to cancel DBSN’s loan and file a case against the borrower for misuse of the funds, ignoring the fact that LandBank is a very reputable and financing institution that would not lend money without conducting due diligence.

If LBP trusted the Oñates with a sizable amount of cash, it must have gone through the loan application with a fine-toothed comb and decided that the applicant was worth every peso of the credit line.

And did Gomez imply that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was grossly remiss in discharging its duties by filing complaints against DBSN?

But more importantly, did Gomez even think that his actions would suddenly leave over 500 DBSN workers jobless if DBSN is padlocked?

If he manages to put the DBSN and its owners out of business, that would certainly mean economic dislocation of the workers and their respective families.

Executives of the Albuera, Leyte-based DBSN insist that they have maintained good housekeeping and best business practices as the core values of their company which grew steadily over the years from a modest beginning in 2016.

The agri firm emphasizes its operations are geared towards “protecting and preserving the ecosystem and returning favors to your host communities to make a difference in the lives of the general public and the stakeholders without losing sight of your corporation’s mission and vision.”

DBSN is a poultry processing plant that counts as its top client the giant San Miguel Foods Inc. bearing the Magnolia Chicken brand.

It has gained the reputation of being one of the most modern and the biggest automated poultry processing plants south of the Luzon mainland, with an output capacity of about 60,000 dressed chicken daily.

At present, it employs mostly local villagers.

DBSN is also accredited by the National Meat Inspection Service for “Good Manufacturing Practices” and was granted AAA rating by the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) as an exclusive poultry dressing facility in the region.

DBSN likewise passed with flying colors a performance assessment by an independent audit firm led by Engr. Aldwin Camance.

“The Plant (DBSN) was compliant with all the required permits for its operations. It has an ECC (Environmental Compliance Certificate) which was amended with the operations increased in production. It has a discharge permit and a permit to operate air pollution devices (for its standby generator). It has a hazardous waste (facility) for its used oil and used oil containers,” the audit report stated.

DBSN officials point out their main objective is to be recognized as a “world-class and dynamic company that is most admired for its people, products, purpose and performance.”

They also said the firm seeks to “drive the quality and safety of their products and services exceeding the needs and expectations of our (clientele) through a management system with competent personnel.”

Mayor Oñate has dared Rep. Gomez to present his case in the proper forum—the courts of law—and not in the bar of public opinion.

He wants court hearings to “clear the air once and for all the malicious and baseless accusations being hurled against me over the family-owned poultry dressing plant.”

“The courts are the right forum for both accused and accuser to face each other instead of in the bar of public opinion where the truth can be easily distorted and the untruth touted to the maximum to serve vested interest,” Oñate stressed.

“There must be a deeper motive for Congressman Gomez to sue us other than our alleged liabilities as he had raised in a legislative hearing and through press releases to the media, but we shall leave it at that.

“What is at stake here is my reputation and integrity both as an entrepreneur and public servant, as well as the viability of a multimillion-peso business venture and the job security of our more than 500 employees,” the mayor said.

En garde, Mayor Oñate seems to be saying to the ex-fencer.

But perhaps the latter should brush up on Shakespeare instead?




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