By Mark L. Garcia
Bacolod City — A farmers organization is asking the help of the government in reopening a sugar mill in the city.
Dacongcogon Farmers Producers and Cooperative Chairman Rolando Parpa, in an interview Wednesday, said since the Dacongcogon Sugar Mill in Barangay Tabugon closed seven years ago, the members of the cooperative had to mill their own sugarcane, a process they can hardly afford.
Parpa said they are asking the government to help revive the mill for the benefit of 10,500 sugar cane planters and workers.
The Dacongcogon Sugar Mill can process around 1,500 tons of cane per day, he said.
Reopening the mill will cost P210 million – P100 million to acquire it from the Philippine National Bank (PNB) and P110 million to rebuild it.
The facility, which started operations in 1971, was shut in 2010 after PNB acquired it in the aftermath of an alleged anomaly, Parpa said.
The group wants the government to help it buy back the mill through a joint-venture agreement with an interested investor.
Parpo said the farmers and the Land Bank of the Philippines had talks Monday on restoring the mill’s operations.
The outcome of the talks will be relayed to the Land Bank president in Manila.
The Dacongcogon farmers said in a press statement their repeated appeals to reopen the mill during the term of President Benigno Aquino III were not given much attention.
This time, letters were sent to President Duterte and members of the Cabinet, including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, requesting that loan grants from abroad be channeled to rehabilitating the mill.