Attacks on properties came after Agrarian Reform Sec's threat — Lapanday

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Davao City (CNN Philippines, April 30) —  Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC) said the simultaneous attacks in its three properties yesterday came a week after Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano threatened their company last week.

In a  statement, LFC said sometime last week, Sec. Mariano "threatened the company for prohibiting him from escorting farmers and their supporters from various leftist organizations."

It was learned that Mariano allegedly attempted to install farmers belonging to a breakaway group of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) on lands already registered with Hijo Employees Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative-1 (HEARBCO-1).

LFC said the breakaway group and their supporters "were coddled and abetted by the DAR leadership to openly defy the final and executory order of the court that ruled there was no agrarian dispute and DAR had no jurisdiction on the case."

"The DAR under Mariano's leadership has become a tool that causes disruption in productive farm operations that pushed persons to defy laws, inflict injury and damage to even other ARBs and ultimately, weaken the economy of the country," LFC stated.

LFC said the attackers, already claimed by the New People's Army as members of the 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion, not only burned the company's properties, but also stole mobile phones, computers, and other company property.

"The burning of the plant will lead to the displacement of hundreds of employees and adversely affect those who have existing businesses with the box and plastic plant. It is they who are now jobless and shall bear the brunt of the consequences of this vicious act," the company said.

LFC said  it will cooperate with the Philippine National Police in the investigation and urges law enforcement agencies to stop the perpetrators from "further endangering the safety and security of people and inflicting damage to private property."

"Lapanday hopes that perpetrators of this criminal act will all be identified, charged and brought before the criminal justice system," LFC said.

In a statement, the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command spokesman Rigoberto Sanchez claimed that aside from the attack in Lapanday packing plant in Mandug, rebels also attacked the Macondray Plastic Plant in Brgy. Bunawan and the Lorenzo ranch in Brgy. Pangyan, Calinan all in Davao City.

Read: NPA rebels attack packing plant in Davao City

Sanchez said that the coordinated offensives "served as punitive action against the Lorenzos for their numerous crimes against agricultural workers, peasants and lumad."