NDFP Media Office
May 4, 2017
The people deserve justice against the oppressive and exploitative practices of the local ruling classes. This was the reaction of NDFP panel chair Fidel Agcaoili to a statement by GRP panel chair Secretary Silvestre Bello III that he would confront the NDFP concerning last Saturday’s attack on Lapanday Food Corp. (LFC) in Davao City.
Agcaoili said that a statement issued on April 30 by Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command has adequately explained the reasons for the punitive action against the cruel and anti-poor landlord-comprador Lorenzo clan, owner of LFC.
Agcaoili further said that the revolutionary movement stands for peace based on justice. “It abhors the extrajudicial killings of more than 51 peasants and Lumad leaders (as of 5 May 2017) under the Duterte administration, 25 of whom were killed in the Southern Mindanao Region; the continuing attacks on communities by the military, police and paramilitary forces of the regime, including the aerial and artillery bombardments of villages that have resulted in the destruction of crops and properties; as well as the harassment, surveillance and illegal arrest and detention of civilians and activists.”
“Cornered and pushed to the wall, the people have no other recourse but to resist and seek redress for their just grievances against the violence of the repressive instruments of the state that operate with impunity against the people,” Agcaoili added. “And the New People’s Army, as the army of the oppressed and exploited, metes punishment on those who harm the masses.”
In the case of Lapanday, Sanchez said that the coordinated tactical offensives at dawn on April 29 were punitive actions to hold the Lorenzo-owned companies accountable for their numerous crimes against their lowly-paid workers and against peasants and Lumad who were dispossessed of their lands.
Among the facilities attacked by the NPA was a heavily-guarded cattle ranch and banana plantation in Barangay Pangyan, Calinan district. Sanchez said the Pangyan ranch coddles criminal elements and counter-revolutionary fanatics who are employed by the despotic Lorenzo clan to protect its anti-people business interests.
Sanchez disclosed that this was the very same ranch where retired M/Sgt. Jose Manero, chief of security for Lapanday, was arrested by NPA leader Ka Parago on May 11, 2008. As a prisoner of war of the NPA, Manero divulged the company’s numerous violations of human rights, including the killing of several banana plantation workers, in its bid to ensure huge profits and the expansion of its operations.
Another facility in Mandug, Davao City attacked by the NPA last Saturday amassed its wealth from the outright exploitation and landgrabbing of many areas around the region through sheer intimidation and displacement of poor peasants and Lumad, said Sanchez. He added that Lapanday also engaged in wanton environmental plunder as communities around its plantations complain of poisoning through the company’s unrestrained use of aerial sprays and other harmful chemicals.
More recently, LFC figured in the news after its company guards blocked agrarian reform beneficiaries from claiming their land in a Lorenzo-owned plantation in Madaum, Tagum City despite an installation order by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the presence of police escorts. Last December, company guards also shot and wounded seven of the beneficiaries who tried to occupy the land. LFC has stubbornly defied orders from both the courts and the DAR to allow farm workers to occupy land that had already been awarded to them under the agrarian reform laws of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
Agcaoili further quoted Sanchez, saying the Lapanday raid served as “just retribution” and “an act of social justice against a feudal lord and capitalist that continues to be protected by state instrumentalities, the AFP-PNP and the various Philippine governments since the 1980s.”
In a related development, Agcaoili said that the NDFP-Southern Mindanao has apologized to the family of a civilian injured during the attacks, and would provide them compensation. The NDFP-SMR explained that the civilian was positioned afar but was nonetheless injured by the shock waves and splinter from a land mine targeting reinforcing troops of Task Force Davao in Barangay Tigatto after the NPA assaulted the LFC box and plastic plants in nearby Barangay Mandug.###
NDFP Panel Chairperson
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