PROTESTING agrarian reform beneficiaries are now camping outside the areas of their land after Lapanday Food Corporation (LFC) security guards conducted a security sweep in Madaum village, Tagum City last December 31.

Unyon sa mga Mag-uumang Nagtikad para sa Tinuod nga Reform ang Agraryo (UGMAD-TRA) spokesperson Antonio Tuyak in an interview with SunStar Davao Monday, January 2, said the security guards of LFC forcibly took over the area where they set up their station.

“Gilusob mi nila, gipagawas mi tanan, naay na ospital kay na patiran, naay nangawalaan ug cp ug pitaka, ug naay mga motor na nabilin sa kay wala gipagawas, (They attacked us, they ousted us out, some went to the hospital as they were kicked, others lost their wallets and cellphones, and there are also motorcycles which were not returned because they were blocked),” Tuyak said.

The LFC statement dated December 31 said it was the leaders and members of the Hijo Employees Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative-1 and their security guards who conducted the security sweep and inventory of farm equipment.

The statement claimed that the sweep was peaceful.

“There was no violence, nor any untoward incident in the course of retaking of the areas as these posts were practically left unattended. The unlawful occupation ended with the supporters many of whom were from other provinces abandoned their post, LFC was informed,” it read.

The statement also read the protesting beneficiaries left over 20 hectares that were viciously and unnecessarily destroyed that deprived the livelihood of the legitimate members of the cooperative.

LFC statement also noted that aside from the destruction of 20 hectares some bodegas or storehouses were also ransacked by the group and its supporters.

READ: Protesting farmers destroyed 15 hectares of land - Lapanday

Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc., (Marbai) and supporters allegedly forcibly entered the farm premises last December 9, unlawfully occupying portions of plantations.

Tuyak insisted that they did such acts for they own the land and planted the bananas.

He also added the retake of the land was not participated by the members of the mother coop, which is the Hearbco-1.

“Wala nitabang pagpahawa ang Hearbco-1 ila ra ang gipahid sa ila kay wala nila gituman ang cease and desist order (CDO) sa DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform), mao na gipahid sa Hearbco-1 (The Hearbco-1 did not help in the sweep, they just said that it was Hearbco-1 because they violated the CDO of DAR),” Tuyak said.

Tuyak added the implementation of the CDO was clearly established among the local government officials and representatives of DAR last December 29.

The previous order issued by DAR prohibits security guards from forcibly evicting the members of petitioner Marbai from the subject landholding and from disturbing their peaceful possession and occupation of the subject property.

The LFC, however, said despite what the breakaway groups and their supporters have done, they failed to disrupt the operations of Hearbco-1 and that the cooperative is still complying with its existing valid contracts with LFC.

The statement read that the work to restore the destroyed areas has started and assistance will be extended to helpless agrarian reform beneficiaries whose awarded lands were ruined.

The company statement also read that the Marbai and their supporters will now account for the destruction of the area, their acts of violence, and theft of farm equipment and other facilities that are now being assessed with the help of Hearbco-1 members and cooperatives’ security guards.

In a separate press conference held December 23, Tuyak noted that DAR Secretary Mariano had already directed the local officials to get police and military assistance to secure farmers from being harassed and maintain peace and order of the area to avoid violent attacks last December 12 where seven farmers were allegedly attacked by security guards of LFC.

Marbai said Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon was directed by Agrarian undersecretary for Legal Affairs Luis Pagulayan to create an Inter-agency task force involving the Philippine National Police, Commission on Human rights, Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units, and Department of Agriculture to monitor the situation of the farmers.

Marbai also contacted the sheriff to implement the CDO but they said that Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 14 had issued a motion that hinders them to do so.

The LFC in their previous statement said RTC 14 binds their contract with the Hearbco-1 and the reported action of the DAR awarding some 145 hectares of lands owned and in the name of Hearbco-1, violates due process for being confiscatory in nature.

Hearbco-1 is the absolute and legal owner of these lands, which have been also been previously awarded by the DAR to Hearbco-1 and its lawful agrarian reform beneficiaries.