MARBAI presses turnover of Lapanday to its members

MARBAI members deliver their message along the highway in Madaum, Tagum City. Lapanday Foods Corporation denied involvement in the December 12 shooting incident in the banana plantation that injured seven farmworkers. MindaNews photo by Gregorio Bueno
MARBAI members deliver their message along the highway in Madaum, Tagum City. Lapanday Foods Corporation denied involvement in the December 12 shooting incident in the banana plantation that injured seven farmworkers. MindaNews photo by Gregorio Bueno

The Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries has called on the government to proceed with the installation of its members inside lands it claims in Lapanday, Tagum City.

The call came after the group held a camp-out at Mendiola in Manila on Tuesday that paved the way for a dialogue between the group and President Duterte and Secretary Rafael Mariano of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

In a statement sent to the media on Wednesday, Antonio Tuyak, spokesperson of MARBAI said that the next step they are expecting is for the Office of the President, the DAR and the local government in Tagum to proceed with the installation process.

Tuyak said MARBAI will prepare and mobilize their ranks and supporters for the installation process.

In the same statement, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas secretary general Antonio Flores expressed support to the call of MARBAI.

Flores also urged the other peasant groups in the country to support MARBAI and take lessons from the group’s struggle and experiences.

“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,” Flores said.

He particularly made the call to farmers of big landholdings including Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Looc, Hacienda Dolores, Yulo King Ranch, Negros haciendas, Araneta lands and other estates.

Flores also asked the government to pull-out the armed goons and security guards from Lapanday to facilitate the peaceful installation of farm workers to their lands.

KMP leader, Pedro Arnado of Southern Mindanao, also described President Duterte’s response to MARBAI’s demand as the product of relentless and painstaking struggle of farmers for genuine land reform.

“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,” Arnado pointed out.

He added that ARBs and farm workers are strong in their resolve to claim and complete victory in their struggle.

“Duterte’s intervention effectively orders the Lorenzos of Lapanday to give up the lands to its rightful owners — the agrarian reform beneficiaries and farm workers,” 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.

He is also not discounting the physical and legal resistance from the Lorenzos and Lapanday once the installation of MARBAI members will push through.

“Farmers are more than ready to face these adversities,” Arnado said.