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Photo courtesy of Mindanews

by Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol
Chairman, MinDA

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has named the members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) to lead the efforts to revive and rehabilitate the mothballed wood processing facility in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, the Paper Industries Development Corp. (PICOP).

The TWG is headed by Director Joey Recimilla with seven members, including MinDA Legal Officer Kristine Quibod, and six alternate members.

The TWG will conduct a thorough study and submit recommendations on the steps to be undertaken to revive and rehabilitate what was once Asia's biggest and most modern pulp and paper mill.

The development was the result of the virtual conference arranged by MinDA which involved key players in the project, the Court-appointed Rehabilitation Receiver Francisco Buencamino, and officials of Bislig City two weeks ago.

Among the salient points reached during the virtual conference were:

1. The facilities of PICOP, while these had been raided and pilfered by groups identified with the workers' union, could still be made operational with the installation of modern equipment;

2. Court-Appointed Receiver Francisco Buenacamino said the owners of PICOP are willing to make additional investments to re-operate the facility now that the Total Log Ban Policy implemented during the previous administration had been lifted;

3. The Supreme Court case which stemmed from the petition for foreclosure filed by the Land Bank of the Philippines who had granted the corporation over P2-B in loans must be addressed as this is the remaining stumbling block in the move to start the rehabilitation;

4. The LGU of Bislig has pledged its support for the rehabilitation and revival of the facility which at one time was the biggest pulp and paper mill in Asia which employed 20,000.

LGU officials who attended thr virtual conference emphasized that the people of Bislig City, especially the Tree Farmers, would greatly benefit from the rehabilitation and re-operation of PICOP.

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