SP eyes P25K rent per hectare for banana, pineapple plantations

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MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/29 February 2020) The Sangguniang Panlalawigan is set to pass an ordinance fixing the annual rent per hectare of land planted to banana and pineapple to at least Php 25,000, board member Nemesio Beltran, Jr said.

He said this was a result of the public hearing among stakeholders held by the SP on February 24, 2020 in line with the introduction of the proposed ordinance. He said they will push for the approval of the ordinance in the SP’s next regular session.

Beltran, chair of the committee on laws, rules, and privileges, and co-author of the proposed ordinance told BukidnonNews.Net that as of now lessors of banana and pineapple plantations pay no fixed rate.

“Lain-lain pa ang ilang rental rates karon, from P12,000 pesos before, karon naa na sa mga P16,000 pesos ang uban per hectare. Naa pa gali uban since 2005 nagsugod nga P7,500 pesos pa ang rental,” (The rent varies as of now. There are those who pay P12,000 to P16,000. Much worse, those who started in 2005 pay only P7,500) he added.

According to the scope of application of the draft ordinance, P25,000 will be imposed as minimum rent per year for banana and pineapple plantations.

Beltran said the ordinance covers on-going or unexpired contracts.

According to the draft ordinance, all subsisting contracts based below P25, 000 shall be deemed amended upon the effectivity of the ordinance. It specified that P25, 000 will be “minimum base rental” per year to cover the remaining duration of the contract.

Beltran said the ordinance will be silent on the duration of the contract and who pays withholding and real property taxes.

He said one firm, based on their position paper, questioned the authority of the SP to amend the subsisting contracts. They cited impairment of contracts.

Beltran said the SP is citing the exemption of the impairment of contract by regulatory legislation or the exercise of the police power also known as the general welfare law, which has been delegated to LGUs through Section 16 of the Local Government Code (RA 7160).

He said the ordinance was filed before the Christmas break of 2019. On December 27, 2019, the SP released notice for the LGUs and planters to submit their position papers on the proposed ordinance.  

Beltran said all who submitted position papers pointed out why the SP has singled out banana and pineapple plantations.

Based on the Constitution, he said, the SP is allowed to classify if there is substantial distinction. Beltran said their classification of banana and pineapple plantations as one class and the rest as another class is valid on five grounds.

First, he said banana and pineapple are exportable products compared to rice, corn, and sugarcane. Second, the two plantation industries, he added, employ workers on a regular basis. On the other hand, other crops like rice, corn, and sugarcane plantations employ workers on a seasonal basis.

Third, Beltran said banana and pineapple plantations earn more income compared to other crops based on records from the Provincial Agricultural Office (PAO). He said banana and pineapple would earn about P120, 000 pesos per hectare per year compared to other crops.

Fourth, he said, banana and pineapple industries are liberalized compare to corn, rice, and sugarcane, which are heavily regulated by the government. Lastly, Beltran said, in terms of land use, there are far more lands that are planted to banana and pineapple that are being operated profitably compared to rice, corn, and sugarcane.

Beltran said they are confident that the proposed ordinance will be passed on the March 3, 2020 regular session because it is backed by Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. (Vergel R. Dolosa/Bukidnon State University BA English Language intern at BukidnonNews.Net)

Photo: Land planted to pineapple in a portion of Imbayao, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines file photo

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