THE FIRST palm oil refinery in the South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City (SOCCSKSARGEN) region is expected to be completed by 2024 after construction began in July, Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said.
LANDBANK financed the construction of the facility, owned by the Garcia Refinery Corp. (GARECO), the bank said in a statement.
“LANDBANK looks forward to the completion of the very first refinery mill in SOCCSKSARGEN. We remain committed to serve the development requirements of the palm oil industry and the whole agriculture sector towards inclusive and sustainable countryside development,” LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Cecilia C. Borromeo said.
GARECO obtained a P450-million loan from LANDBANK with the goal of becoming the first modern Filipino-owned refinery in Mindanao, the bank said.
LANDBANK said that the mill, located in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, is expected to make palm oil products more accessible and affordable and serve as a stable source of income for palm oil growers from Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.
The bank also said that completion of the mill will expand the company’s workforce from five to about 35 to 50 workers.
“Our vision is to engage communities in palm oil production that will take them out of poverty and bring peace to the community, in the hopes of becoming a driving force for the Philippine economy,” GARECO President and CEO Erwin Anthony Y. Garcia said.
The mill’s potential suppliers are palm oil planters tending to 14,000 hectares within Sultan Kudarat. GARECO has current partnerships with 63 farmers to manage their combined 3,065 hectares of palm oil. — Aaron Michael C. Sy