The Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations Inc. Negros-Panay Chapter praised Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson for facilitating the return of migratory sugarcane workers to the province in time for the start of the milling season next month, its press release said.
A letter from Dar through Sugar Regulatory Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica was sent to various local government chief executives in Negros and Panay requesting their offices to ensure the unhampered and unrestricted movement of sugar industry migrant workers.
It said the sugar workers “are critical and essential for land preparation and farming activities guaranteed by the IATF and DA issuances, specifically during this time when we are about to start the new cropping season on September 1.”
The letters were sent to Lacson, Iloilo Gov. Art Defensor, Antique Gov. Rhodora Cadiao, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, and Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas. Dar said this is part of the approved Food Resiliency Protocol approved by the IATF that was reinforced by the advisory from the DILG reiterating that food and essential goods must remain unhampered to ensure food security and availability.
CONFED Negros/Panay Chapter Chairman Nicolas Ledesma, Jr. also thanked Lacson for coming out with the guidelines for sacada’s entry to the province.
“We are truly grateful for the efforts of our government leaders, especially Gov. Lacson and Sec. Dar for streamlining the back-to-work travel of our Migratory Sugarcane Workers,” Ledesma said, citing Dar’s request as well to Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III to utilize the Social Amelioration Program for sugar industry workers through the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns to “financially accommodate and aid in the payment of the requisite Rapid Test of migrant workers for their return to Negros Occidental.”
Copies of Lacson’s guidelines, released yesterday, were sent to all planters’ associations requesting them to submit a list of migratory workers they require for the coming crop year.
The list must include pertinent information like PhilHealth registration of the workers, their place of assignment and preferred date of transport to Negros Occidental.
All incoming sacada will undergo RT-PCR testing.
Those who are members of PhilHealth can charge their testing to the state health insurance agency.
However, for those who are not covered by PhilHealth, the planter who will employ their services will be required to deposit P1,500 per worker to their associations which will then be remitted to the provincial government to aid them in covering the cost of testing, the press release said.
Official schedule and number of trips shall be determined by the RT-PCR testing capacity.
Individual planters are required to provide transportation for their farm workers from the port of disembarkation to their quarters which will serve as their quarantine facility in their respective farms.
There the workers must undergo mandatory quarantine if their RT-PCR results return negative.
For those who will test positive, they will immediately be transferred to provincial quarantine facilities, the press release added.*