Coconut industry execs, plant managers resign; leave copra farmers hanging

UNTV News and Rescue

Board of Directors of the coconut industry investment fund-oil mills group (ciif-omg) during an interview with members of media about their mass resignation July 13, 2018,

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The future of over 2,000 copra farmers now hangs in a balance after the shutdown of three large oil mills in the country.

This, after plant managers joined in the mass resignation of the board of directors of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund – Oil Mills Group (CIIF-OMG) on Thursday (July 12).

The mass resignation was prompted after Malacañang nominated Rehan Balt Lao as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the CIIF despite their (Board of Directors’) opposition over issues of corruption.

On Tuesday (July 10), five members of the CIIF board filed a case against Lao for his alleged unauthorized claim of being president of the CIIF-OMG and also for not submitting a Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

The complainants insisted that they are no longer at ease working with Lao citing issues of irregularities, which they believe are violations of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-corruption campaign.

“Sabi ko, “Sir, kung ganiyan Sir na ipipilit ninyo si Mr. Lao sa amin, magre-resign na ako.” Sumunod naman si President Lor, sumunod ang mga directors…Ayaw na talaga namin makasama si Mr. Lao,” said CIIF-OMG Chairman of the Board Eddie Delima.

The mass resignation has resulted in uncertainty in the operations of three giant oil mills in the country which now face shutdown. These are the Granexport ManufacturingCorporation (GRANEX) in Iligan City; the Legaspi Oil Company Incorporated (LEGOIL) in Bicol; and the San Pablo Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) in Laguna.

The shutdown would incur a huge loss in the daily operational income of the oil mills that would certainly affect the salary of workers.

“Because most of the people we have in the field are regular employees so when we have a shutdown, the company has to keep on paying them. For every day of a shutdown, we are losing like P400, 000 a day,” Delima added.

The controversy also puts in peril the income of more than 2,000 copra farmers who supply copra to the said three mills. The CIIF-OMG buys copra from these farmers at a higher price but with the current crisis, the farmers are left without a choice but to lower their price.

If not immediately addressed, Delima said the situation would also affect the production of cooking oil and the country’s exportation of crude coconut oil. – Asher Cadapan Jr. / Marje Pelayo

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