The Department of Labor and Employment Negros Occidental Field Office has intensified the inspection of temporary dwelling facilities of migratory sugar workers (MSWs) or “sacadas” from Antique.
The inspection, conducted on August 17 to September 11, was intensified to align with the protocols in preventing the further spread of Covid-19,” Mary Agnes Capigon, DOLE Negros Occidental Field Office head, said in a press release yesterday.
The temporary dwelling facilities of the haciendas in Bacolod City, Murcia, Silay City, Talisay City, Bago City, Kabankalan City, Isabela, Binalbagan, Victorias City, Pontevedra, La Castellana, La Carlota City, and Pulupandan had been inspected.
A planters’ group from Negros Occidental had requested for an early inspection of the temporary dwelling facilities of MSWs in anticipation of an early harvest season this year.
In response, DOLE 6 regional director Cyril Ticao told the central office that the existing inspection procedures and checklist are not aligned with the issuances of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
As such, a memorandum with a checklist aligned with the safety and health protocols of the IATF and Department of Health was released by the DOLE central office, the press release said.
Aside from inspection, the DOLE is also preparing for the manner of transfer of the sacadas.
“We have been issuing authority to hire to planters. Hence, our office is now preparing for the arrival of MSWs since their transportation will not be the same as previously practiced and safety protocols shall be strictly observed,” Capigon said.
Negros Occidental expects 3,034 MSWs for October and November this year, the press release said.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo have signed a joint memorandum setting the guidelines for MSWs travelling to Negros Occidental from Oriental and vice versa for crop year 2020-2021, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
MSWs will be considered authorized persons outside residence (APORs) since the sugar industry is classified as an essential industry subject to provisions of the joint guidelines and circulars of the Department of Agriculture, DOLE, and the IATF-EID, the agreement of the two governors signed Monday said.*