MARBAI Farmers Serve Lapanday ‘Notice to Vacate’ Agrarian Reform Lands

vacateIn a protest action a day before going back to Mindanao to affirm their resolve to continue with their installation on the land, farmers belonging to the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc. (MARBAI) and their supporters today served a ‘Notice to Vacate’ to Lapanday Foods Corporation’s (LFC) Makati office today. The farmers also symbolically padlocked the main gate of LFC.
“These symbolic actions are a prelude to what will happen in the coming days,” said Danilo Ramos of Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura.
One hundred MARBAI farmers served the notice together with supporters from multi-sectoral groups from Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Anakpawis Partylist.
“Lapanday should abide by the President Duterte’s directive to return the land to us,” stated Antonio Tuyak, spokesperson of MARBAI.
During a dialogue with the farmers in Mendiola on May 9, Duterte said the lands do not belong to Lapanday and that it should be returned to its rightful owners. “We expect to be installed on the 145-hectares of land next week,” Tuyak said.
The determination and strong resolve of the MARBAI farmers to claim back their lands from LFC was crucial in persuading the President to give his support to their cause.
MARBAI, together with other farmers in Mindanao have been campaigning for almost a year which culminated in their reclaiming of their lands on Dec. 9 despite harassment and violence inflicted upon them by security guards and goons of LFC which resulted in the wounding of ten farmers in two shooting incidents on Dec. 12 and 14.
LFC guards were able to forcibly evict them on Dec. 31, but they did not falter as they held strong their camp outside the LFC compound in San Isidro Tagum City.
Fify-nine of them went to Manila and started a camp-out at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) main office in Quezon City to demand the fast-tracking of their installation.
However, the local Philippine National Police (PNP) refused to assist them in their installation, exposing its subservience to the oligarch Lorenzo clan, which owns the LFC.
After the failed installations on April 18 and 21, two hundred MARBAI members and their supporters decided to camp-out in Mendiola starting May 1, until President Duterte himself pledged his support to them.
“The rising agrarian unrest in Lapanday and other big landholdings is a testament of the need for a genuine land reform,” said Pedro Arnado of KMP Southern Mindanao.
MARBAI expressed resolve that they shall be installed to their lands next week.

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