Duterte invites Lapanday farmers to dinner at Manila Hotel
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday invited the farmers who were camping out on Mendiola to dinner at the posh Manila Hotel.
“Kumain na kayo ng hapunan?” Duterte asked the farmers when he met them Tuesday afternoon.
“Ilan kayo lahat dito? Bong, reserve ka ng 200 sa Manila Hotel. Doon ko kayo pakainin. Ayaw ninyo? Bong, 200 sa Manila Hotel. Gusto nila Manila Hotel,” Duterte said, giving the order to Bong Go, his special assistant.
“Basta ‘yung nakabarong lahat don, huwag ninyo pansinin ‘yun. Hindi tayo magkakilala. Sabi ni Mayor, dito kami mag-kain ng hapunan… Manila Hotel… para makatikim kayo,” Duterte added.
About 200 banana plantation farmers went to Mendiola to ask Duterte to intervene and direct Lapanday Foods Corporation to abide by government orders to turn over the lands to agrarian reform beneficiaries.
The farmers belong to the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc. (MARBAI) in Lapanday Foods Corporation in Tagum, Davao del Norte.
On April 18, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano was supposed to install MARBAI farmers to the 145-hectare land, but it was postponed to “ensure the safety and security of agrarian reform beneficiaries.”
Lapanday Foods Corp. deployed 800 armed security guards to barricade the banana plantation.
Last March 7, Lapanday farmers already met with members of the House of Representatives when the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) conducted an initial inquiry with Department of Agrarian Reform officials and Lapanday to investigate incidents of violence.
The farmers, who are earning P50 to P70 per day, also demand the following:
- Immediate installation of farm workers and agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) to their lands.
- Rescind of the onerous agribusiness venture agreement between the ARBs and Lapanday.
- End the violence and attacks against farm workers. Pull-out and punish armed security guards and goons of Lapanday.
- Implement genuine agrarian reform.
Stay away from drugs
In his meeting with the farmers, Duterte reminded them to steer themselves away from illegal drugs.
“Wag kayong pumasok ng droga kasi pumapatay talaga ako… Ngayon trabaho lang. Ang trabaho ko maghanap ng oportunidad para tayong lahat mabuhay. Wala ng violation ang lahat,” he said.
“Ayaw ko talaga ng corruption… papatay talaga ako diyan sa corruption,” he added. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News