The Tagum Agricultural Development Co., Inc. (Tadeco) has welcomed the call for government to review their joint venture agreement as the company reiterated that it has always been transparent with its deal with the government.
Alex N. Valoria, Tadeco president, said that since 2012, the contract has been subject of three congressional hearings by the committee on agrarian reform of the House of Representatives.
“Our relationship with Bucor (Bureau of Correction) is a joint venture, not a lease agreement,” Valoria said.
The result of the first review in 2012 already stated that the joint venture was in order and that it was important to the government, as the company “contribute to the DOJ (Department of Justice and)/Bucor and provide trainings and incomes to the latter’s inmates,” said the government agencies in their position paper.
Bucor is under the DOJ.
Aside from congressional hearings, the executive department has also conducted its own reviews of the contract.
Valoria pointed out that even before the call was made, the company and the government, represented by Bucor, were scheduled to meet for their quarterly meeting next month to discuss the agreement and other related issues.
A provision of the agreement created the joint venture agreement management committee to oversee its implementation and address concerns. This is the body that meets every quarter.
Aside from the quarterly meeting, company and government officials also meet every month to tackle day-to-day issues.
Even during the past administrations, the company has always been open to any call for adjustments in the benefits that the government derives from the joint venture as well as the benefits that go to the community and the inmates, Valoria said.
In the past when government asked for adjustments, the company readily accommodated them, noting that the times are changing, although the contract provides for escalation clause, he said.
As an example, a year after the 2003 renewal of the joint venture agreement, the values of guaranteed income and profit sharing were increased as indicated in the amendment to the joint venture agreement dated November 27, 2004.
On the participation of Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. in the company, company documents showed he resigned from his position in 1999 when he became a member of Congress.
“He never participated in the negotiations while serving as member of Congress,” Valoria said, in reference to Floirendo who won back his seat in 2016.
The joint venture, which covers 5,308 hectares at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm reservation, has benefited about 3,500 inmates every year with an average daily deployment of about 1,000 inmates every day under the Inmates Farm and Training and Exposure Program.
On financial benefits and assistance to Bucor, the joint venture resulted in about P1.642 billion in financial benefits until 2016, about P15.432 million in fixed program assistance during the period, P3.831 million in infrastructure assistance, and P2.205 million in other forms of assistance.
On employment generation, the joint venture, on a three person per two hectare ratio, created , about 18,580 jobs for inmates and other workers and resulted in about P3.1 billion in annual salaries.
To set the record straight, Valoria said figures that came out of a recent news report were wrong because it only pertained to the 2003 guaranteed income and excluded the profit sharing and other benefits.
He said that aside from the figures mentioned, there are other benefits that go to the government that are not even included in the contract.
Valoria, however, explained that the figures should have included the stipend and support program, guaranteed production share, profit share, inmates farm and training support, training subsidy, landwatch patrol and corporate social responsibility.
In 2014, company documents showed that the government received P32.969 million for guaranteed production share and it got P8.576 million for profit share. Last year, the guaranteed production share of the government ballooned to P35.327 million, while profit share went up to P9.527 million.
“We are never remiss of our obligations both to the government and the workers,” Valoria concluded.