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The youth group Anakbayan today said President Duterte’s visit to banana plantation workers’ protest campout in Mendiola, Manila and declaration of support to their struggle yesterday afternoon serves as an inspiration for landless farmers to occupy more oligarch farmlands nationwide.

The Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (Marbai) have been in Manila since May 1 to press the Duterte administration to intervene in the reinstallaion of 159 agrarian reform beneficiaries in the Lapanday Food Corporation-controlled banana plantation in Madaum, Tagum City in Davao del Norte.

“The Marbai farmers have been forcibly evicted from their land in 2010, shot at by Lapanday goons when they tried to reclaim it in 2016, and barricaded off the land by goons in cahoots with local police this April 2017. The president’s backing is a positive development,” said Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.

The youth group said Duterte’s backing to the Marbai farmers’ plight should encourage more dispossessed and landless poor peasants to occupy idle agricultural lands illegally and violently land grabbed by big landed oligarchs like the Lapanday-owner Lorenzos and the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

“We call on the president to walk the talk. He should concretize his support to the Marbai farmers by actually ordering police to disarm the Lapanday private army, reinstall the beneficiaries in the 145-hectare banana plantation, and punish the despotic landlord clan Lorenzos,” said Crisostomo.

In conclusion, Anakbayan said that rather than putting his best effort on the brutal drug war that has left many from the poorer classes disenchanted with his regime, Duterte should go against big landlords and oligarchs by freely distributing land to poor landless farmers and realizing a program of genuine agrarian reform.


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