KIDAPAWAN CITY – Whose to blame? The banana plantation owned by Indigenous Peoples (IPs), in hopes to help them survive poverty and covid-19 pandemic, have been destroyed by unscrupulous suspects, report reaching MDNN said yesterday.
More than 1,300 banana plants planted in Balabag village, an upland community of the native tribes in Mount Apo, were not spared by the suspects.
Eduardo Empan, the village chieftain reported the matter to the local police to speed the investigation and bring them to justice from their mutilated banana farm.
Empan said the plantation, if harvest time comes, would have earned them over half million pesos (P500,000) enough to buy school supplies for their children, food and other needs.
Early Tuesday morning (July 13) the villagers found their banana farm destroyed by still unidentified attackers, who may have been paid by someone who have ill motive against their group.
Empan was the head of the Manobo Apao Descendants Ancestral Domain of Mt Apo (MADADMA), a group of Manobo IPs. They planted bananas from the royalty shares they received from the Energy Development Corporation (EDC).
The association, it was learned, would offer P100,000 a reward money to those people who can give information about the suspects responsible in destroying their banana plantation.
“The amount will be given to anyone who can provide information leading to the identification and prosecution of those who destroyed our banana plants,” he told media people on Wednesday.
The village chieftain has estimated the destroyed banana plants to earn them more than half a million peso.
“We had planned to use the income from this plantation to buy school supplies for our children in Barangay Balabag.” he said.
He also said initial information gathered by their group is that five men were responsible for the attack.
“They could be people who do not want us to succeed in our banana plantation as those behind the attack. It is now up for the police to investigate deeper,” Empan said.
Empan said he suspected that those responsible attackers may have been used and followed orders from someone who mastermind the destruction of their livelihood project.
“We want to know the mastermind,” he said, challenging the policemen who were tasked to investigate the incident.