Southern Mindanao farmers encamped in Mendiola appeal Duterte to urgently resolve land case with oligarch Lorenzo clan
Mendiola, Manila – Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to urgently resolve the land dispute case between the 159 members of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc. (MARBAI) and the Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC), owned by the family of former Agriculture Secretary Cito Lorenzo.
Today marks the 8th day of the Farmer’s Camp-out in Mendiola, Manila which started last May 1, 2017. Primarily, these farmers want to reach Pres. Duterte to help the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in installing the MARBAI farmers on the 149 hectares of farmland in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. The said land was claimed by the Lorenzo family through the Agribusiness Venture Agreements (AVAs) which resulted to an unfavorable condition of the agrarian reform beneficiaries.
“The oligarch Lorenzo clan who wielded economic and political power for decades in the Mindanao region have used their influence to take advantage through one-sided agri-business agreements to expand its banana plantations through land grabbing and the displacement of farmers and lumad lands”, Casilao said.
Last April 18 and 21, 2017, DAR Sec. Mariano intended to install the MARBAI farmers in 159 hectares in San Isidro, Tagum City but Lapanday Corporation rejected the order of the Writ of Installation of the DAR. Even the Philippine National Police (PNP) did not assist the DAR to install the said farmer beneficiaries.
Moreover, the Anakpawis filed House Resolution No. 634 to conduct an investigation on the December 12, 2016 – shooting of ARBs by Lapanday guards. Also, the party list filed House Resolution No. 954 on the failure of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to assist the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on installing ARBs on April 18 and 21.
“We hold Pres. Duterte’s statement against oligarchs who use government land for their self- serving means. The LFC refuses to obey the decision of the DAR to provide land to farmers as its primary mandate, but it also uses violence to frustrate land distribution. The president should act on this open defiance of the Lorenzo’s, he should back the decision of the DAR to install the farmers in the farm lands already awarded by the government”, Casilao concluded. ###