The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said President Rodrigo Duterte’s response to the demand of farm workers of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (MARBAI) is a product of relentless and painstaking struggle of farmers for genuine land reform.

Yesterday afternoon, Duterte and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) secretary Rafael Mariano met with some 200 farmworkers camped-out in Mendiola to discuss their demands. Speaking before the farmworkers and their supporters, Duterte reiterated his earlier call for for the people to ‘occupy oligarch lands.’

“This development legitimizes the strong clamor and mass movement of farmers for the dismantling of monopoly lands and delivering social justice to landless and poor farmers.”

“The ARBs and farmworkers are strong in their resolve to claim and complete victory in this struggle,” said KMP Southern Mindanao chairperson Pedro Arnado. “We are expecting physical and legal resistance from the Lorenzos and Lapanday. Farmers are more than ready to face these adversities,” the KMP leader said.

“Duterte’s intervention effectively orders the Lorenzos of Lapanday to give up the lands to its rightful owners — the agrarian reform beneficiaries and farmworkers,” Arnado said as he asserted the immediate need for the actual installation of 159 ARBs to the 145-hectares of land grabbed by Lapanday Foods Corp.”

“The next step we expect is for the Office of the President, the DAR and the local government in Tagum to proceed with the installation process,” said Antonio Tuyak, spokesperson of MARBAI. “We will prepare and mobilize our ranks and supporters for the installation,” Tuyak said.

“We call on all farmers with similar land struggles to take important lessons in the MARBAI case. To unite their ranks, firm up their resolve and persist in the struggle to resist and fight landlords and oligarchs,” said KMP secretary general Antonio Flores as he called on farmers of big landholdings including Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Looc, Hacienda Dolores, Yulo King Ranch, Negros haciendas, Araneta lands and other estates.

MARBAI and other farmworker beneficiaries GMARBAI, HARBCO and other supporters including Lumad and Moro people will return to Tagum Davao del Norte this weekend to prepare for their installation on the land. On Friday, the farmworkers will return to Lapanday office in Makati to press the Lorenzos to give up the lands.

The KMP also demanded the pull-out of armed goons and security guards from Lapanday’s SANID area to facilitate the peaceful installation of farm workers to their lands. ###