Marbai farmers occupy Mendiola, ask Duterte for help

May 2, 2017

By Kilab Multimedia

More than 200 farmers and farmworkers from the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc (MARBAI) held a camp-out at Mendiola at the foot of Malacañang Palace today to demand President Duterte to enforce an installation order on their lands held by Lapanday Foods Corporation in Tagum City.

The MARBAI farmers were forced to return to Manila and hold protest rallies due to Lapanday’s refusal to comply with the installation order by Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). The installation supposedly was to take effect on April 18 but 700 Lapanday company guards blocked the installation of agrarian beneficiaries despite Secretary Mariano’s presence.

After joining the Labor Day march rally from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola, the farmers set-up camp at the right side of the Mendiola Bridge.

Lapanday Foods Corporation is a multimillion banana company that claims ownership of around 6,000 hectares of land in Madaum.

Mendiola is known not only as a ground for protest in Manila but as a landmark as 13 farmers were killed in the 1987 Mendiola Massacre when farmers demanding agrarian reform were killed.

MARBAI farmers also protested the Philippine National Police – General Headquarters in Quezon City and accused local police in Tagum City of colluding with the LFC due to their refusal to assist farmers in the reinstallation on April 18.#