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424 NegOcc bioethanol workers avail of P2.8 million in cash aid

A fisherman received food assistance from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 6, in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental recently* San Carlos PIO photo

The Department of Labor and Employment 6, through its Negros Occidental Field Office, released a total of P2.8 million in financial assistance to 424 workers in the bioethanol industry, under the Social Amelioration and Welfare Program – Adjustment Measures Initiative or SAWP-AMIn.

A one-time financial assistance of P7,000 was provided to each qualified beneficiary, who had not received financial assistance from any government agencies or from the local government unit, a press release from DOLE 6 said.

“The financial assistance provided income augmentation and additional cash support to bioethanol workers affected by the plants’ adoption of either flexible work arrangement or temporary closure during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine,” DOLE 6 Regional Director Cyril Ticao said.

SAWP-AMIn is a social safety strategy developed by DOLE and approved by the National Tripartite Consultative Council for the bioethanol industry, to respond to the economic shocks and sudden loss of income encountered by workers due to the implementation of quarantine measures.

“The bioethanol plants identified the beneficiaries, who were affected during the implementation of flexible work arrangement or temporary closure, while the DOLE evaluated the validity of the list,” DOLE-NOFO head, Mary Agnes Capigon, said.

The three bioethanol plants in Negros Occidental that availed of the assistance are Roxol Bioenergy Corporation, San Carlos Bioenergy Corporation, and Victorias Milling Company.

“Not all bioethanol plant workers availed of the financial assistance due to the ineligibility of the applicants as provided under the guidelines. Nonetheless, the support extended by DOLE was of great help to the beneficiaries, whose works were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Capigon said.

Meanwhile, fisherfolk in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, also recently received food and cash assistance from the Department of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 6.

Some 187 beneficiaries received food assistance consisting of half sack of rice, eggs, and dressed chicken, as facilitated by the Coastal Resources Management Division of the City Environment and Management Office, a press release from the city said.

Cash assistance of P3,000 was also distributed to beneficiaries from barangays Buluangan, Guadalupe, Punao, Ermita, San Juan, 1, 3, 6, and Rizal.

Melvin Maglayon of the CRMD said the assistance was meant to alleviate the situation of marginalized fisherfolk amid the pandemic.

He added that there are 1,663 registered fisherfolk in San Carlos, and because of the nationwide food and cash subsidy, 400 to 500 slots were given by BFAR to the city, and prioritized members of the fisherfolk organizations.

The program was under the DA’s cash and food subsidy for marginal farmers and fishers, funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the press release said.

The BFAR Provincial Fishery Office representative, City Environment and Natural Resources officer Loreto Sanchez, and Edward Burgos, CRM supervising environmental management specialist, were present during the turnover of assistance.*

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