Protecting BARMM’S patrimony (3)

As to its merit, again we reiterate that it should be vetted in an investigation that may be conducted by the proper government agency.
Protecting BARMM’S patrimony (3)

(This is a sequel to past articles regarding complaints of Maranaws against the Matling Industrial and Commercial Corporation)

B. Local governments do not benefit from the operation of the corporation. According to the documents provided by residents to this column, while the corporation operates in the town of Malabang and part of Marogong and Sultan Gumander, it pays its taxes not to these local governments but elsewhere.

They claimed that: "Since time immemorial, it earned billions of pesos but the corresponding taxes like income, percentage and real property taxes are allegedly paid not in Malabang, Lanao del Sur (principal place of business) but in Metro Manila, depriving the latter LGU (part of BARMM) of so much needed revenue that should have alleviated and uplifted the economic development and progress of the town and the Autonomous Bangsamoro."

Is this fair? While the natural wealth belongs to and should be enjoyed by the local residents, some outliers benefit from them. Are they classified as "large taxpayers" by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, in which case they can pay it in Metro Manila?

C. Local residents are not benefitted by the operation of the corporation in terms of employment. Local Maranaw residents decry the fact that employment at Matling is not offered to them but to others who are not local residents. In fact, hordes of Maguindanaoans have established a community in the area because of their employment in the corporation to the prejudice of the native residents. Were local residents discriminated against in jobs generated by the operation of the company? What happened to the social responsibility of corporations?

D. Alleged violations of the Labor Code. An unfair labor practice case was filed by the workers against the corporation before the National Labor Relations Commission entitled "Khadafy Taha, et al. vs. Matling Industrial Commercial Corporation, docketed as NLRC Case No. MAC_01-017279, Cagayan de Oro NLRC."

Among the questions litigated was the workers' employment status—whether there existed an employer-employee relationship. Allegedly, the company claimed that they were contract or seasonal hires who could be terminated at anytime, a claim disputed by the workers. We cannot discuss the merits of the case which is pending and is sub judice. However, while the laborers partly won the case, its execution in their favor has been unduly delayed and they suspect that the company had a hand in it.

E. High-handedness of the security guards of the corporation. This has been going on since the start of the operations of the corporation, perhaps because of the presence of lawless elements and trespassers in the area. Although this is not an official policy of the corporation, yet it has come to a point where their overzealousness in protecting the corporation had caused undue harassment upon lawful landowners who were forced to sell their land to buy peace. Perhaps the presence of the para-military CAFGU (residents call them the company's private army) and the military outpost in front of the plant along the national highway give  them the feeling of superiority and a condescending presence in the area that creates fear among the residents.

In sum, these are the grievances of the natives which they asked this column to ventilate. As to its merit, again we reiterate that it should be vetted in an investigation that may be conducted by the proper government agency. The residents are hopeful that through this column they could get their grievances across to a broader audience, especially the BARMM government.

They ask for the "intervention of the BARMM government because one of the main reasons for the revolution was land dispossession . . . the government of the Philippines and the . . . (MILF) have agreed to address legitimate grievances of the people in the BARMM, correct historical injustices, and address human rights violations and marginalizations (committed) through LAND DISPOSSESSION. . ."

As a caveat, this column does not claim the narrative to be the gospel truth. Its role is only to be a medium for residents to air grievances. What is the truth? One man's truth maybe a lie to another.

Finally, we welcome any rejoinder, denial or reaction from any reader, not the least the Matling Corporation.

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