For the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, the peaceful and successful installation of the members of Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries to their lands at Lapanday Plantation in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on Thursday morning, May 18, was an assertion of social justice.
In a press statement on Thursday, KMP secretary general Antonio Flores pointed out that “farmers should have the control over the lands without any intervention and retaliation from Lapanday and its armed security.”
About 5,000 members of Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, Inc. (MARBAI), together with their families and supporters entered into their lands that have long been controlled by Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC) on Thursday.
“It was an assertion of social justice against years of land grabbing and exploitation committed by Lapanday against agrarian reform beneficiaries,” Flores added.
He added that the installation started with the actual occupation of the land and followed by the assertion to control and hold firm the 145-hectares of lands.
Flores also pointed out that the successful installation of MARBAI farmers was based on the agreement forged during the dialogue with President Rodrigo Duterte.
The plan was enforced by an inter-agency task force formed during the dialogue, he added.
“This morning, Lapanday maintained its security guards inside the locked premises of the banana plantation and refused to comply with the break open order issued by the Sheriff as ordered by DAR. MARBAI farmers asserted and stood their ground until they were able to break open the gates and enter the plantation,” the KMP leader said.
The 145-hectare of lands is part of the 6,000-hectares of lands acquired by Lapanday through agribusiness venture arrangements (AVAs) that was described by farmers as onerous.
“There are more Marbai-Lapanday exploitative arrangements in Mindanao. We expect more ARBs to launch protests and resistance against AVAs and plantation lords,” Flores said.