NEWS: Compostela banana workers decry losing land, jobs by DAR- installed “dummies”

oct 13

Some 170 banana workers in Barangay Osmena in Compostela town

. Leaders of Namasco banana workers decry forcible takeover of their banana plantation in Compostela town during the press conference last Saturday with the Davao del Norte Press Radio and TV Club (DNRPC), Inc.at Cevannah Bar Café and Restaurant at Lapulapu St., Tagum City. At left is DNRPC chairman Greg “Loloy” Ybanez

. Leaders of Namasco banana workers decry forcible takeover of their banana plantation in Compostela town during the press conference last Saturday with the Davao del Norte Press Radio and TV Club (DNRPC), Inc.at Cevannah Bar Café and Restaurant at Lapulapu St., Tagum City. At left is DNRPC chairman Greg “Loloy” Ybanez(Rural Urban News photo)

who are claiming to be the actual tillers of the land are protesting the forcible takeover to the 139–hectare of banana plantation by 159 “agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs)” after earlier given with Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) by the Department of Agrarian Reform.

The plantation is then leased bv the Ayala-owned Davao Fruits Corporation until leasehold contracts expired and workers went on growership.

“Many of them are dummies, former DFC employees, already businessmen, even some area already living in Davao City and in United States,” said Zosimo Ombajin, president of the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Compostela (Namsaco) in a press conference after Saturday’s “Ipalanog sa Katawhan” press forum of the Davao del Norte Press, Radio and TV Club, Inc., (DNPRC) at Cevannah Bar Café and Restaurant in Tagum City.

Ombajin said that last August 11 the ARBs, accompanied by District 1 Cong. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora and some policemen, allegedly went into breaking their barricade, disarmed their security guards and forcibly takeover a half of their supposed land.

“We were surprised on that day that the DAR installation order suddenly arrived ejecting us from the land we have been productively cultivating for many years,” said Ombajin.

Zamora accordingly accompanied the ARBs to help them be installed on the land as the CLOA holders due to the congressman’s promise in the last elections.

The 159 CLOA holders are accordingly girding to takeover the whole of the 139-hectare land, while the 170 actual workers are holding on working on half of the plantation area.

“As a result our families are now starving,” said complaining of scarce jobs and excess workers since they have already to be content on working a half the 139-hectare land.

On the same press conference, Pantaleon Libre Jr, an officer of Namasco, said that after the takeover the occupied land have already new workers of new growers from CLOA holders.

The actual workers though would still get the last harvest from the remaining bunches in the occupied land, he said.

“What we are demanding is that we should also be included as CLOA holders since it is us who made continuous possession and production over the land for the past ten years since 1998,” he said.

He said that CLOA holders are former DFC employees and workers who were already compensated by DFC as early as 1994 due to retrenchment, resignation or retirement.

“We were not informed on the CARP application nor had seen in the barangay bulletin board of any posting on DAR notice to put the land we have been actually working under CARP,” Ombajin said.

The Namasco has already petitioned the DAR central office to revoke the CLOA. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) http://ruralurbanews.blogspot.com

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