- President met with 200 farmers picketing in Mendiola
- He promised to address their concerns, treated them to dinner afterwards
- He also told them to stay away from illegal drugs
MANILA, Philippines – Aside from promising to address their concerns, President Rodrigo Duterte had another surprise in store for the farmers he met in Mendiola on Tuesday afternoon—dinner at the upscale Manila Hotel.
“Kumain na kayo ng hapunan?” “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,” GMA News quoted Duterte as telling the group.
[Have you eaten dinner? How many are you here? Bong (Go), make a reservation for 200 at the Manila Hotel. I will treat you there. You don’t want it? Bong, 200 at the Manila Hotel. They want to eat at the Manila Hotel.]
The farmers, members of Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc. (MARBAI) had camped out in Mendiola to ask Duterte for help in directing Lapanday Foods Corporation in Tagum, Davao del Norte to turn over the 145-hectare banana plantation assigned to them under the agrarian reform program.
They were supposed to be installed last April 18 by Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano. However, it did not push through owing to security concerns.
Don’t Do Drugs
During their meeting, Duterte also told the farmers not to do drugs even as he promised to uplift their lives.
“‘Wag kayong pumasok ng droga kasi pumapatay talaga ako. Ngayon trabaho lang. Ang trabaho ko maghanap ng oportunidad para tayong lahat mabuhay. Wala nang violation ang lahat,” he said.
[Don’t foray into drugs because I will really kill you. Now, it’s just my work. My work is to look for opportunities so that we can all have better lives. There will be no more violations.]