Tagum, DAVAO DEL NORTE (May 18, 2017)--Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano successfully installed this morning the 159 banana farmers belonging to the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc. (Marbai) who were forcibly evicted by the Lapanday Food Corp. (LFC).
Mariano immediately acted on installing the farmers one week after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the DAR to proceed with the reinstallation of farmer-beneficiaries to the 145-hectare banana plantation controlled by agribusiness firm LFC during his visit at the farmers’ campout in Mendiola on May 9.
“I am thankful that the installation of the farmers were executed orderly and peacefully. With concentrated force and cooperation and team work from the DAR, the farmers, our supporters and the assistance of the PNP, the farmers, from now on, have physical control of their land,” Mariano said.
Early this morning, Mariano and his team, composed of his Undersecretaries, the DAR Regional Director, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officers were at the gates of the LFC awaiting for the DAR Sheriff’s signal to safely enter the gates with the farmers.
A few hours prior to executing the writ of installation, three teams of the DAR Sheriff, assisted by 50 Phil. National Police (PNP), conducted a clearing operation of the San Isidro farm area (Sanid) inside LFC. Mariano said the clearing operation is necessary to effectively implement the installation of the farmers.
“This is for the safety of the farmers who will enter the gates of the LFC for their installation. The Sheriff and the PNP will get rid of any obstructions like booby traps that may be present inside Sanid. In the event that any untoward incident may happen, the Sheriff’s teams and the PNP will be there to stop the violence” Mariano explained.
Mariano said he fear for the safety of the farmers. “Although they are now installed in their farm lots, they are still in danger,” said Mariano. To address this, Mariano said the PNP will provide a 24-hour security after the installation for 2 days.
Mariano said he requested the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to extend the 2-day security and provide 24-hour, round-the-clock security to all ARBs and their families for 60 days.
Mariano earlier had attempted to install the 159 farmer-beneficiaries, twice, on April 18 and 21, but was opposed by LFC owners with the help of their armed goons.
Photo 1: The DAR Sheriff (in blue cap) opening the gates of Lapanday Food Corp. after the clearing operation.
Photo 2: Secretary Rafael Mariano (in blue cap & shirt) walks alongside farmers after the gate of LFC were opened by the DAR Sheriff.
Photo 3: Secretary Mariano installing the 159 Marbai agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) inside the LFC banana farms.
Photo 4: Secretary Mariano with the installed Marbai ARBs.
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