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Mindanao, the Philippines: From a “dangerous place” to a zone of shared prosperity

Dave Llorito's picture
Bananas for export go through rigorous quality inspection. The plantation employs some 2 thousand workers in Maguindanao, Mindanao.
Bananas for export go through rigorous quality inspection. The plantation employs some 2,000 workers in Maguindanao, Mindanao.

“It was a war zone, one of the most dangerous places on earth.”

That’s how Mr. Resty Kamag, human resource manager of La Frutera plantation based in Datu Paglas (Population: 20,290) in Maguindanao (the Philippines) described the national road traversing the town from the adjacent province.

Residents and travelers, he said, wouldn’t dare pass through the highway after three in the afternoon for fear of getting robbed, ambushed or caught in the crossfire between rebels and government soldiers.

“That was before the company started operations here in 1997,” said Mr. Kamag. La Frutera operates a 1,200-hectare plantation for export bananas in Datu Paglas and neighboring towns, providing jobs to more than 2,000 people.