The visit yesterday by GRP President Duterte to the Mendiola protest camp-out of farm workers of Madaum, Tagum City is a boost to their struggle to claim the 145-hectare land being controlled by the Lorenzo family’s Lapanday Food Corporation through so-called “agribusiness venture agreements.”
With the Duterte visit, the Lapanday farm workers belonging to the Madaum Agrarian Reform Benefiaries Inc. (Marbai) must press on with their struggle to assert their rights to the land and put an end to the oppressive and exploitative agribusiness arrangements with the Lorenzos. They have long been in possession of GRP documents declaring them to be “agrarian reform beneficiaries” which, however, has been practically nullified by the banana contract-growing arrangements they were made to enter.
They are surely encouraged by the Duterte visit to assert their land claims. It raises their expectations that GRP President Duterte will go beyond rhetoric and put his full weight behind the Department of Agrarian Reform which under peasant leader Sec. Paeng Mariano had ordered the installation of the Marbai farmers. The DAR was, however, forced not to proceed with the installation last April 18 after the Lorenzos employed 800 armed guards to stop the farmers from claiming their land even as the local police force stood idly by.
Instead of being discouraged, the Marbai farmers have shown greater determination to press with their struggle. They have exhibited militance, persistence and courage in their struggle and have drawn attention and widespread support which the GRP president himself cannot ignore.
Through their collective action and determination to raise their issues at Mendiola, they have laid out the challenge for the GRP president to either support their struggle or side with the big bourgeois comprador and landlord Lorenzos. The Filipino people await the Lapanday farmworkers to return home and rally their whole community and their supporters in order to bring down the Lorenzo’s guarded gates and fences which have prevented them from taking over their lands. They demand the Duterte regime to extend full support to their demands.
The Party calls on the Filipino peasants to be inspired by the struggle of the farm workers of Lapanday, as well as the militant struggles of the peasants of Hacienda Luisita, in order to generate militant peasant struggles nationwide and demand the dismantling of feudal haciendas and big plantations.
The peasant masses and farm workers have long demanded implementation of genuine land reform in Hacienda Yulo, Hacienda Roxas, the Yulo King Ranch, Hacienda Dolores and scores of other haciendas in Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, in Tarlac, Mindoro and Palawan, Panay, Negros, Leyte and other provinces as well in millions of hectares plantations run by the big bourgeois compradors and their foreign big capitalist partners.
They must take the full benefit of having peasant leader Ka Paeng as head of the DAR to press their struggle for genuine land reform. They must hold the Duterte regime to its commitment in peace negotiations with the NDFP to support free land distribution and support the peasants in the occupation of lands held by the big oligarchs.
At the same time, the Party calls on the poor and landless peasant masses and farm workers to wage agrarian revolution by joining the New People’s Army and their revolutionary organization Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid. In doing so, they can help in strengthening and expanding the foothold of the people’s democratic government under which priority is given to land reform and the overthrow of the despotic power of the big landlord oppressors and the reactionary military and police forces.