Farmers welcome Duterte’s positive response to Lapanday farm workers
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s gesture in personally meeting with 200 farmers of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc (MARBAI) and other farmworker cooperatives of the Lapanday Food Corp. who are now on their 9th day of camp-out at Mendiola to demand the President to install them on the 145-hectares of land in San Isidro, Tagum City. Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary ‘Ka Paeng’ Rafael Mariano accompanied Duterte to the farmers’ camp-out.
“We will remain vigilant. We will take this as a challenge to intensify further agrarian and peasant struggles nationwide,” says Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Secretary General Antonio Flores.
“Duterte said the lands do not belong to Lapanday and instructed the farmworkers to occupy the land controlled by oligarchs. Duterte effectively gave the go signal for DAR to proceed again with the installation of the farm workers and the Lorenzo family-owned Lapanday should abide by the President’s direct orders,” said Flores.
Duterte also said he will ensure police assistance in the installation to be led by DAR.
“We would like to think that the President’s response to the demand of MARBAI farm workers extends as well to his support and backing of Mariano’s program at DAR to break-up monopoly lands and implement genuine agrarian reform and free land distribution,” the KMP leader said.
Last April 18 and April 21, DAR’s Mariano attempted to install 159 members of MARBAI to the 145-hectare parcel of land inside the banana plantation but had to postpone to ensure the safety of the agrarian reform beneficiaries.
Agribusiness firm Lapanday Foods Corp., which is currently in control of the San Isidro (SANID) farm area, deployed 800 armed security guards to barricade the banana plantation and set up ‘booby traps’ along the fences to prevent the installation of in MARBAI members.
Flores said DAR under Mariano should also continue with the distribution and installation of agrarian reform beneficiaries in other big landholdings controlled by oligarchs like in Hacienda Luisita, Yulo King Ranch in Palawan, Hacienda Roxas, Hacienda Looc, Negros haciendas among others land estates. ###