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Placing Dapecol under threat

One the hottest headline issues in recent weeks is the call of Davao del Norte congressman and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, “to investigate current practices” by the Tagum Development Co., Inc. (Tadeco) in managing its banana plantation in the lands of the Davao Penal Colony, managed by the Bureau of Correction (BuCor).

The move, coming as it does with so many randy stories of double-cross and infidelity, carries unsettling implications that may have long-term and negative impact in how the penal colony has been productively nurturing the lives and future of its inmates. This column is not privy to the undercurrents that trigger the probe sought by Alvarez, but our rational understanding of the details that have been publicized suggest that the Speaker is not a bit worried how his action will impact on the lives of the poor wage earners who depend for survival on Tadeco’s plantation.

The BuCor-Tadeco deal, from an objective perspective, has become a tragic victim of two factions whose personal clashes have placed in jeopardy individuals and institutions built through the decades for sound penal management.

Alvarez may be right in saying he is not the only guy with many romantic dalliances, but where does that assertion stand in relation to Dapecol’s fate? If, indeed, there were some unwanted angles in the deal, does that make the Speaker a saint?

The Dapecol experiment has long been the envy of the country’s other penal colonies. It is at Dapecol that inmates are introduced to the essence of restorative justice. The banana plantations it hosts have rehabilitated prisoners to become productive citizens, earning money for their families while serving their sentences.

Making them productive is now the propelling trend in penology.

From a distance, the faults seen by Alvarez in the Tadeco-Dapecol joint venture agreement may look rational, but one must look closer to determine where the flaws, if any, are found. For certain, the accord is not just about rental issue, and must be viewed more broadly from other facets that directly benefit the state in terms of tax revenues, jobs, and inmates’ welfare.

Placing Dapecol under threat is not about a lover’s quarrel. The political tremors that will affect the institution in the future may be deemed as a reflection of Alvarez’s shortsightedness. So much for grandstanding and uncaring indifference. (Johnny Dayang)

  • Samantha Nicole



    We are the real people in TADECO. We LOVE TADECO.

    Malaki na ang naitulong nang Tadeco sa buhay nang nakakarami, lalong lalo na sa mga inmates ng DAPECOL. Imbis sila ang tutulungan, sila pa ang tumutulong sa mga pamilya nila nang dahil sa nakukuha nilang allowance sa Tadeco.

  • Kristeta Barrientos

    Si Alvarez doesn’t care about the people. He only cares about his ego.