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Bacolod: Negros sugar mill revival awaits Malacañang action

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Bacolod City – The 10,000 signatories pushing for the revival of Dacongcogon sugar mill project in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, have been awaiting the decision of Malacañang regarding their appeal for almost 12 years already, disclosed former government prosecutor Rolando Parpa recently.

Parpa, the chairman of the Dacongcogon Farmers Producers Cooperative (DFPC), said that Malacañang has not given their appeal to revive the sugar mill “serious attention,” from 2011, up to now.

He recalled that the operation of Dacongcogon sugar mill, which was established in 1968, first produced sugar in 1971, until its closure in 2008, generated a total income of P2.2 billion that circulated at the Dacongcogon Valley community, which used to be among the insurgency affected areas of Negros Occidental.

Parpa said its closure in 2008, caused economic dislocation and poverty problems at the hinterland communities of CHICKS (Cauayan Hinobaan Ilog Candoni Kabankalan Sipalay) area, areas that remain affected by insurgency problems, until now.

He also noted the continued armed skirmishes between government forces and New People’s Army combatants, that caused loss of lives, including that of innocent civilians, dislocation of residents from their respective areas, loss of livelihood opportunities, and destruction of properties.

Parpa reiterated that the only solution to poverty as the underlying cause of insurgency and to stop the killings at the Southern Negros CHICKS area, is restoring the local Dacongcogon sugar milling facility, noting that was a government flagship socio-economic project, symbolizing real development, for 40 years.

“The now mothballed and rotting sugar mill structures and machineries has become a pathetic symbol of economic retrogression,” he added.

While military claims that “development will kill the NPA, Parpa said the failure of government respond to the people’s call for assistance for 12 years, to preserve and/or revive it “unwantedly killed a vital, hinterland, socio-economic institution.”

He maintained that the revival of Dacongcogon project would revive development, improve living conditions, bring hope, and end the continuing insurgency-related killings in the area, which was nationally editorialized as a “killing fields” in 2019.

How many more need to die in Negros so the people’s problem about poverty and insurgency could get the personal attention of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., particularly those from the grassroots who are the most affected victims, Parpa asked.

He pointed out that public officials swore to an oath to uphold the Constitution.

However, the Dacongcogon people’s experience shows that such respect for the oath is wanting, or much more respect for the letter and spirit of the Constitution itself, Parpa said.

No wonder the purpose of government is not served in the far flung areas and reason why some Filipinos rebel. The government does not say when, and how, it would end insurgency, he further said.

Parpa maintained that the revival of Dacongcogon project would revive development, improve living conditions, bring hope, and end the continuing insurgency related killings in the area. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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