(UPDATED) Malaybalay banker proposes a hectare of trees for every hectare of agri plantation

Bukidnon News.Net official logoMALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News.Net/29 December) Mayoralty bet Estelito Marabe, president of one of Bukidnon’s rural banks, the D’ Asian Hills Bank and one of three contenders for city mayor of Malayabalay told a recent lawyers’ forum that he will propose to require owners of fruit plantations to plant a hectare of trees for environmental protection.

Marabe told the candidates forum organized by the Integrated Bar of the Philippine Bukidnon chapter earlier in time for their Christmas party that he respects the moratorium on expansion of agriculture plantations in the city.

He said the fruit plantations business is not to blame but the cutting of trees.

He vowed, however, a review on the policy to balance between the weight of the issue on the environment and the economy.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Malaybalay City unanimously approved last April 10 the urgent resolution to impose a moratorium on expansion of fruit plantations in the city.

The same resolution was passed in response to a resolution earlier passed by Malaybalay’s Association of Barangay Councils (ABC). Fruit companies questioned the moratorium but the city council said the resolution stays for a long time.

Marabe said he is keen on a policy that requires companies a one to one ratio; that is for every hectare planted to banana and pineapple, another hectare should be planted to trees for environmental protection.

He admitted that many of these companies opened payroll accounts with his bank and that his family, too, leased around 12 hectares for plantations.

Marabe cited his 23 years experience as chief executive of his enterprises as one of his edge over opponents.

The two other contenders, incumbent Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri and Vice Mayor Victor Aldeguer both skipped the forum. Zubiri attended the city government’s gift-giving project in an undisclosed barangay. Aldeguer, a staff of his office said, was on a prior scheduled barangay visit.

Marabe vowed to make Malaybalay the “center of trade and commerce of Bukidnon” again citing the need to attract instead of just wait for investors to walk in. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)