DTI officials with Surallah Mayor Bendita
(from left) DTI South Cotabato Provincial Director Flora Gabunales with Surallah Mayor Antonio Bendita and DTI 12 Regional Director Ibrahim K. Guiamadel 

With a US$20M investment, Dole Philippines opened a new plant in Surallah South Cotabato. Local officials and representatives of various national government agencies attended the blessing and opening ceremony last June 9, 2017.

Mr. Randolph Fleming, Dole Philippines Vice-President and Managing Director, in his speech said, “The new plant is the largest single investment of Dole Phil with 3,000 hectares of pineapple plantation and 250 thousand tons of fruits. It doubles the capacity in 2014 and puts Surallah on the map as a major producer of pineapples. The facility will generate at least 1500 jobs and increases capacity in Polomolok wherein industries are back to agriculture with the commitment to process fruits from expanded area.” Mr. Fleming thanked ITOCHU Corporation, mother company Dole Asia Holdings for sharing the vision, as well as the engineers, suppliers and contractors specifically Engr. Recto Puno, Project Manager for the on-time delivery. “Dole Thailand closed one plant to give way to this project, “Fleming added. He also thanked Mayor Antonio O. Bendita and other local officials for the support. Fleming told the group that Dole Phil. acquired the Tboli Agricultural Development Incorporated (TADI) that paved the way for the opportunity to establish and expand Dole’s facilities.

Asia Packaged Foods President Warren
Mr. Shawn Warren, President of Asia Packaged Foods at Dole Asia Holdings. 

Mr. Shawn Warren, President, Asia Packaged Foods at Dole Asia Holdings, in his speech mentioned the DOLE products are built on quality, quality and quality, a promise to consumers around the world. He also talked about growth 2016 world-wide package. “The growth of the business is what we celebrate today. Surallah and Polomolok will be the jewel in the crown as they bring growth in the community. This brings a tremendous breakthrough in the growth of Dole.”, he said.

Dole Danko Stambuk. Senior Vice President of the Worldwide Manufacturing and Business Development of Dole Philippines complemented the people in South Cotabato. “It’s nice to be here in South Cotabato. I arrived in South Cotabato 21 years ago to learn how to plant pineapple. Dole Philippines envisioned this 20 years ago and am glad to say that you exceed what we are asking you.” Stambuk mentioned that Dole started in South Cotabato 54 years ago which he described to have “Nice climate. Good people.” He mentioned that he came in the place first as trainee and ended up as manager. The facility was Started in Hawaii from 1970-71. And the company was closed, then opened in Thailand but decided to close again to bring the equipment which are seen here today. Stambuk also posted a challenge to the community: “Let us not move this evaporator again. Let this benefit everyone here in the community. Today, Polomolok is no 1 and Suralla is no 2. Later, Suralla no.1 and polomolok no. 2.” He then ended his speech with a declaration, “ I left my heart in South Cotabato.”

Meanwhile Governor Daisy Avance Fuentes, in her statement of support mentioned, “Dole Philippines, about a decade ago, promised 15,000 jobs, but generated double.” She also cited pipelined infrastructure projects like roads and bridges linking the farms to the processing plants both in Polomolok and Surallah.

DTI 12 Regional Director Guiamadel
Mr. Ibrahim K. Guiamadel, DTI 12 Regional Director delivers the speech of Secretary Lopez.

DTI Secretary Lopez, who is attending a very important meeting was represented by Ibrahim K. Guiamadel, DTI 12 Regional Director who read Sec. Lopez’s congratulatory message to Dole Philippines in his behalf. “This event reflects the continued confidence of Dole in investing in the Philippines particularly in Mindanao. The certainty and conviction of Dole to invest in Mindanao isa testament to the country’s sound macro-economic fundamentals, sustained investor confidence and good governance, which bode well for the agency’s thrust to strengthen the country’s position as I preferred global investment destination. Dole’s investment in the “Land of Promise” because of its impressive tropical rainforest, fertile valleys and great biodiversity is concrete proof that Mindanao is the investment location of choice for agri-business venture.” Secretary Lopez also wish to encourage Dole Philippines to continue integrating MSMEs in its supply chain as well as more Filipinos in its labor.