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DAR Orders Investigation and Prosecution of Perpetrators involved in the Shooting of Seven Farmers In a Campsite

news reg 1 pix 1 dec. 13 2016TAGUM CITY, Dec. 12 – Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has ordered the Regional Office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Region XI, and the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office of Davao Del Norte to probe the reported gunfire attack by security guards of the Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC) at the farmers’ encampment in Brgy. Madaum, Tagum City. He also instructed local DAR officials to coordinate with the Philippine National Police of Davao del Norte for the possible filing of cases against the suspects of the shooting incident.

Six victims, including a 16-year-old minor, were taken to the Davao Regional Medical Center after sustaining gunshot wounds at around 7:45 a.m. Another one suffered a minor injury and did not seek hospital treatment. In addition, several accounts claimed that an airborne craft was seen spraying pesticide at the campsite immediately after the reported incident.

Farmers of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI) have been staging a camp-in protest at the LFC compound after successfully reclaiming the contested land last Dec. 9, six years after the LFC evicted them out.

Almost 2,000 farmworkers and members of peasant organizations have joined the farmers’ camp in Brgy. Madaum to support the fight of the MARBAI farmers.news reg 1 pix 2 dec. 13 2016

MARBAI members are farmer beneficiaries who were given Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) in 1996 under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Each of the 159 farmers owns a 0.79-hectare piece of the 145-hectare banana plantation. 

news reg 1 pix 3 dec. 13 2016According to Mely Yu, president of MARBAI, they were forced to enter a Banana Sales and Marketing Agreement with the LFC who buys their products for export. They were tricked into selling high-grade bananas which were poorly classified for a lower price, thus resulting to a measly Php 2,000 monthly income, she added. Because of the agreement, the farmer beneficiaries became indebted to LFC for more or less a billion pesos (P1,000,000,000.00).

The DAR has been meeting with the farmers for their installation to the 145-hectare land as ordered by Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) Jose Nilo Tillano in his December 15, 2015 decision, which has long been final and executory. 

In October of this year, when the farmer-beneficiaries were already in a camp-out in front of the gate of the LFC compound, Secretary Mariano himself visited the farmers and had a dialogue with them assuring them that the DAR is studying the matter carefully and wanted to install them peacefully into their landholdings without compromising their safety and security.

Unfortunately, this incident happened.

Region XI News

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