Tagum City, Davao del Norte – The national democratic youth group Anakbayan today calls on the Filipino people to support Mindanao land reform beneficiaries who, armed with a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) order, are set to take over the Lorenzo Lapanday agricultural plantation today.

We strongly condemns Lapanday for its brazen defiance of the DAR order by deploying 700 fully-armed guards who have blocked the installation of the farmer-beneficiaries in the Lapanday farmland.

Rather than help enforce DAR’s pro-farmer order, Philippine National Police (PNP) forces harassed and stopped 2 vehicles of farmers going to the protest camp even as the Tagum local government has refused to cooperate in the implementation of farmer installation.
The contested piece of land was previously awarded by DAR to farmers of Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc. (MARBAI) in 1996. However, they were evicted in 2011 by Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC).

Farmers tried to reclaim their land in 2016 but were shot at and harassed by Lapanday’s private goons. Masked armed guards in black shot at farmer-beneficiaries last December hurting at least seven farmers.

Lapanday is owned by former agriculture secretary Cito Lorenzo, who was linked to the P728 million fertilizer scam. He is one of richest Filipinos, also part owner of Conjuangco-Aquino’s Luisita.

Last April 11, DAR Sec Mariano ordered the installation of farmer-beneficiaries in the contested San Isidro Farm.

The Lapanday landgrab shows how farmers are repeatedly being oppressed by landlords amidst failed “land reform.” Today, farmers fight back and occupy. They deserve our full support and solidarity.

Vencer Crisostomo
Anakbayan National Chairperson

 

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