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159 MARBAI farmers reinstalled

MADAUM, Tagum City – Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano yesterday led the peaceful reinstallation of 159 members of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc. as rightful owners of the 145-hectare contested San Isidro farm area inside the former Hijo Plantation owned by Lapanday Foods Corp. here.

Backed by supporters from other sectors, the farmers, who brought with them their personal belongings, entered the banana farm at around 10:30 a.m. after Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board Sheriff Adelaido Caminade served the writ of installation and cleared the area of Lapanday guards.

Security was tight with police and military personnel securing the area to avoid violent confrontation between the farmers and company guards.

The farmers have been picketing near the gate of Sanid farm since the Mendiola camping.

Augusto Pamolino, a MARBAI supporter, said the members have finally achieved their objective. “They are not the only ones happy but all of us,” Pamolino said.

In an interview, Mariano said the meeting of President Duterte with MARBAI members in Mendiola, Manila was the biggest factor leading to the successful reinstallation of the farmers.

“It gave a strong push to install back the farmers, who have now rights over the contested land,” Mariano said.

Mariano was also set to meet with the other group, the Hijo Employees Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative 1, which has a standing agreement with MARBAI. (Antonio L. Colina IV and PNA)

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