Take banana-workers’ side over kin-by-marriage; install them in their farmlands –
Manila, Philippines – Expressing support to thousands of banana-workers in Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC) controlled Hijo Plantation in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) challenges President Rodrigo Duterte to assist and get the farmworkers installed in the 145-hectare contested banana plantation.
The farmworkers are set to reclaim portions of the plantation through the writ of installation issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). But LFC defies DAR’s order by deploying 700 fully-armed security guards near the campout of the beneficiaries.
Led by the agrarian reform beneficiaries belonging to Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI), farmworkers for almost 9 months have been picketing inside the plantation to assert their rightful and legal claim in their land. Harassments and human rights violations perpetrated by LFC private security guards against the farmworkers have been consistent as they assert their right to land.
The fisherfolk group and its allied peasant organizations Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) learned that the legal counsel of the LFC, Atty. Manases Carpio is the Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s husband.
“We challenge President Duterte to speak out and side with the farmworkers by facilitating their immediate installation in their farmland. Duterte should tamper on the issue fair and square instead of shrugging his shoulders off just because his relative in marriage in the opposite side is involved with it,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA assails the illegitimate claim of the Lorenzo clan over the plantation, saying the farmworkers have the entire basis that the contested land is legally, morally and politically belongs to them.
“Duterte should assail the LFC for using violence against the struggling farmworkers to keep and impose its absurd and irrational claim over the farmland. If he tolerates massive land-grabbing and land reconcentration to persist, then he is no different from his predecessors who served for the narrow-interest of big-landlords over the democratic rights and just demands of the Filipino peasantry,” said Hicap.
LFC is owned by the family of former Department of Agriculture Secretary Cito Lorenzo and it exports most of its produce in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, with Japan as its strongest market. ###